U.S. indicts Richard Marshall in Aquash murder case

by Paul DeMain
News From Indian Country (NFIC)

The United States Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Marty J. Jackley in South Dakota has confirmed that Richard "Dick" Marshall, has been indicted for "Aiding and Abetting 1st Degree Murder" in the December 1975 murder of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash of Nova Scotia.

According to the Associated Press Marshall, now of Rapid City, appeared and pleaded not guilty Aug. 26 to aiding and abetting the murder.

Marshall, the bodyguard of American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Russell Means in 1975 has been accused by federal witnesses close to the case of having provided the gun for which Aquash was killed. Aquash was brought to the home of Richard and Cleo Marshall Gates late in the evening of December, 11 1975 or morning of Dec. 12 from Rapid City, South Dakota by Arlo Looking Cloud, John Boy Patton Graham and Theda Nelson Clark.

Aquash had been previously interrogated at the law offices of Attorney Bruce Ellison in the AIM - Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee (WKLDOC) in Rapid City, S.D., and later transported to an empty apartment owned by Thelma Rios Conroy. There she was forced to cut the labels off her clothes and transported to Marshall's Pass Creek home in Allen, according to former members of AIM now cooperating with authorities in the investigation.

According to the testimony of Cleo Clifford Marshall Gates. Aquash was given coffee and a donut while Dick Marshall, Looking Cloud and Graham had a conversation in the back room of their Allen, South Dakota home. According to accounts of the evening attributed to Dick Marshall, Aquash was also given a change of clothes.

The most prevalent theory told over the years is that the trio then left and went to the home of Russell Mean's brother, William (Bill/Kills) on the Rosebud Reservation where it is alleged that several leadership members of the American Indian Movement were present including Clyde Bellecourt and Harry David (Mr. X) Hill. Dennis Banks and Vernon Bellecourt, in California, are allegedly consulted by telephone about the fate of Aquash. Over the years there have been several versions of the trip that have emerged that federal authorities may now be unraveling and the exact sequence of Aquash's last eight hours have, (including statements by Russell Means in a 1999 public press conference in Denver, Colorado,) perhaps, been intentionally murky and misleading.

Aquash was shot several hours later as the sun rose in Wanblee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

A South Dakota Grand Jury charges that on or about the 12th day of December, 1975, near Wanblee and in Allen, in Indian Country, in the District of South Dakota, the defendant, Vine Richard Marshall, a/k/a Richard Vine Marshall, a/k/a/ Dick Marshall, an Indian, willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation and malice aforethought, did aid and abet in the unlawful killing of Annie Mae Aquash, a/k/a Annie Mae Pictou, wherein she was shot with a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C 111, 1153 and 2.

The indictment was filed Aug. 20, 2008.

Marshall was convicted in the March 1, 1975 shooting of Martin Montileaux and later confessed to the act in order to obtain parole for life. Montileaux was shot in the back of the head, at the base of the skull by one bullet while standing in a bathroom stall of the Longhorn Bar in Scenic, South Dakota. Russell Means was on the other side of Montileaux when he was shot.

Marshall was a Movement leader at the upper security level, comparable to Theodore (Ted) Means of South Dakota AIM Security, (a brother of Russell Means) and Leonard Peltier who was assigned to Dennis Banks as a bodyguard while at Pine Ridge in 1975. Marshal served 24 years in prison for the Montileaux killing. He was placed on parole in 2000 for life.

1970s - Dick Marshall
(Photo by Oyate Wichabo)

Marshall was represented by AIM attorney Ken Tilsen of Minneapolis in 1975, an attorney closely affiliated with Vernon Bellecourt and the office of AIM Internal and Domestic Intelligence - the arm of the American Indian Movement Bellecourt claimed was responsible for weeding out FBI pigs and informants. Tilsen came into possession of Annie Mae's wallet which was not found on her body, and rather than providing it to federal authorities, sent it to the sisters of Annie Mae Aquash in early 1976.

Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud of Denver was convicted in 2004 and is serving a life prison term for being a party to Aquash's death. Another man, John Boy Patton Graham of Canada, is scheduled to stand trial on October 6th, 2008 on the same charges. The federal government does not need to prove who actually pulled the trigger in either an aiding and abetting, or party to 1st degree murder charge - only that the "defendant" participated in, or had knowledge while aiding the crime.

According to a taped conversation with Graham in 2001, reviewed by the Associated Press, Graham admitted to being with Aquash, Clark and Looking Cloud moments before she was shot. Graham however, denied that he pulled the trigger.

The interview was set up by the late AIM leader Vernon Bellecourt at a time Bellecourt was denying publicly to the press, that he even knew who Graham was. The interview was suppose to be an attempt to enhance the alibi of John Graham according to a cooperating federal witness who made the recording. The witness is expected to testify about the interview if charges against Graham go to trial on October 6th.

Witnesses at Looking Cloud's trial had said that he, Graham and another AIM member, Theda Nelson Clark drove Aquash from Denver, to Rapid City, Pine Ridge and Rosebud and that Graham shot Aquash as she begged for her life near Wanblee.

Selected Portions of the Testimony of Cleo Gates in the
Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud
February, 2004

U.S. Attorney Robert Mandel. Particularly do you remember a night when Anna MaeAquash arrived at your house?

Cleo Gates. Yes, they told me that the girl was Anna Mae Aquash.

Q. Prior to that time you didn't know her?

A. No, I didn't.

Q. Can you tell us first of all who arrived at your house and when they arrived?

A. I think it was before midnight, it was after 11:00, we had gone to bed, and it was Theda Clark, Arlo, and John Boy is what I knew them by.


Q. Was there some request made of you and Dick that eveningby these people?

A. Well, they came in and they went, they came out of the bedroom and called me in the kitchen and he said they want us to keep her here.

Q. Who said that?

A. Dick. I said what for? I don't know, just keep her here. And I said no.

Q. You refused to allow them to do that?

A. Right.

Q. How come?

A. Because I had, this was Anna Mae, and I had heard just different things going on on the reservation, and I didn't want to be any part of it.

Q. What kind of different things were you aware of?

A. Well, people were saying that Anna Mae was an informer. I never knew her myself, so I didn't, wasn't sure. So I just told Dick no, I said I don't think we should.

Q. Were you and Dick both AIM members at the time?

A. Yes, we were.



Q. You said you weren't allowed to go back in the bedroom when they were there?

A. Well, they said stay out here, they took Dick back there.

Q. Do you know, did your husband Dick give them anything when they were back in that bedroom?

A. I don't think he did.



To learn more checkout: Facebook.com/AnnieMaePictouAquash