Accused murderer says he’ll never get a fair trial



Chusia Graham


Supporters of John Graham — accused of killing a fellow Aboriginal-Canadian activist in the U.S. three decades ago — are launching a campaign to fight his extradition and raise funds to hire an American lawyer.


“I’ll never get a fair trial in South Dakota,” Graham said from behind a glass barrier at a Coquitlam prison.

The U.S. accuses Graham of murdering Anna Mae Aquash, because leaders in the American Indian Movement (AIM) suspected her of spying for the FBI.

Graham and his lawyers accuse the FBI of fabricating evidence. The B.C. Supreme Court judge who signed an extradition order in 2005 noted her dissatisfaction with the case against him. But Justice Elizabeth Bennett ruled that she was bound only to verify Graham’s identity.

Lawyer Terry LaLiberte appealed that decision, but it was upheld by the B.C. Supreme Court June 26. He is now applying to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Graham’s daughter, Chusia, said the family is preparing for the worst — they hope to raise enough money to hire an American lawyer willing to challenge the U.S. government.

Graham pointed out that the case against him hinges largely on the testimony of Arlo Looking Cloud, a heroin-addicted alcoholic who confessed that he and Graham carried out the murder. Looking Cloud has since signed an affidavit stating that he won’t testify against Graham.

Graham also said AIM never ordered assassinations, despite knowing it had informers in its midst.

He and Aquash were friends and fellow travellers, he added. “I remember nights we travelled hundreds of miles, talking.”

Write to fight

  • Graham’s family is also encouraging members of the public to write letters to Chief Justice Beverly McLaughlin asking her to stop the extradition.