Judge dismisses indictment against Aquash defendant
A Canadian man who is accused of murdering American Indian Movement activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash will no longer face charges in federal court but a case in South Dakota state court will proceed.

John Graham was indicted for Aquash's murder on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in December 1975. But a federal judge and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said federal prosecutors failed to demonstrate that Graham is "Indian" as defined by U.S. law.

Graham is Native -- from Canada -- but he is not a member of a federally recognized U.S. tribe. So he can't be charged in federal court, the 8th Circuit said.

Brendan Johnson, the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against Graham in the "best interests of justice." Judge Lawrence Piersol granted the request yesterday.

Graham will still face charges in state court for Aquash's murder. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, who initially prosecuted the case when he served as U.S. Attorney, said elements of the crime took place in Rapid City, off the reservation.

Richard Marshall, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, still faces charges in federal court for Aquash's murder. But the indictment linked his involvement to Graham's.

Arlo Looking Cloud, also Ogala Sioux, was convicted of Aquash's murder in 2004 and is serving a life sentence. Federal prosecutors are planning on calling him as a witness against Marshall.

Get the Story:
John Graham will face state murder charges in AIM slaying case (The Rapid City Journal 2/3)
Judge drops charges against 1 in 1975 AIM slaying (AP 2/3)

8th Circuit Decision:
US v. Graham (July 28, 2009)

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