VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A Yukon native has been taken
into custody after a British Columbia court denied his appeal of an
order that he be extradited to the United States to stand trial for
a 1975 slaying in South Dakota.
The ruling against John Graham came Tuesday morning in
Vancouver and his bail was immediately revoked, so he was taken to
Graham had been under house arrest since he was charged in
December 2003 with first-degree murder in the killing Anna Mae
Pictou Aquash on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in late 1975. Her
body was found Feb. 24, 1976. The Nova Scotia native had been shot
in the head.
Aquash's murder came amid a series of bloody clashes in the
mid-1970s between federal agents and members of the American Indian
Movement. Aquash, a member of Mi'kmaq Tribe of Canada, was among
Indian militants who occupied Wounded Knee, S.D., for 71 days in
Prosecutors have said AIM leaders ordered Aquash's killing
because they suspected she was a government informant. AIM leaders
have denied that assertion.
The other man charged with killing Aquash, Fritz Arlo Looking
Cloud, received a mandatory life sentence in 2004 after a federal
jury in Rapid City, S.D., convicted him of first-degree murder
committed in the perpetration of a kidnapping. A federal appeals
court upheld the conviction.
Graham has said he's innocent, but a Canadian judge who issued
a written ruling Tuesday disagreed.
"In my opinion, a properly instructed jury acting reasonably,
could convict on the evidence that the appellant brought the
deceased from Denver to South Dakota and there carried out her
execution with the assistance of Looking Cloud," the judge
Witnesses at Looking Cloud's trial testified that Graham shot
Aquash, whose family exhumed her body in 2004 from an Oglala, S.D.,
grave and reburied it in Nova Scotia.
A Canadian judge ruled in 2005 that Graham should be
extradited and the Canadian minister of justice affirmed that
decision last year.