FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Tuesday, September 10, 2013
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605)773-3215
South Dakota Supreme Court Dismisses John Graham Appeal
PIERRE, S.D - Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that the South Dakota Supreme Court has dismissed John Graham’s effort to overturn his conviction through a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Graham was convicted in 2010 of the December 1975 kidnapping and murder of American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Annie Mae Aquash. Aquash was one of the highest ranking female members of AIM. She was married at Wounded Knee and participated in AIM’s 1973 occupation of the town.
Members of an AIM faction that included Leonard Peltier and John Graham accused Aquash of being a government informant. She was kidnapped from Denver, Colorado, by Graham, Arlo Looking Cloud, and Theda Clarke, driven to Rapid City, and then to the Badlands of South Dakota where Graham executed her.
Graham left the country and relocated to Canada but was eventually extradited and tried for Aquash’s murder. He was convicted by a jury in December of 2010 and his conviction was affirmed by the South Dakota Supreme Court in May of 2012.
In May of 2013, Graham sought to overturn his conviction through a writ of habeas corpus filed in Pennington County. Judge Thomas Trimble denied the writ in July of 2013. Today’s ruling by the South Dakota Supreme Court ends Graham’s challenges to his conviction in this state’s courts.
“I am grateful for the cooperative efforts of tribal, state, and federal law enforcement officers in bringing John Graham to justice,” said Attorney General Jackley. “Today’s ruling is an important step toward final justice for Annie Mae and her family.”