Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud
THE COURT: Bring in the jury, please. Good morning. Call your next witness.MR. MANDEL: United States would call Don Dealing, Your Honor.
DON DEALING, called as a witness, being first duly sworn, testified and said as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. MANDEL:
Q. Sir, could you state your name, please?
A. Donald A. dealing.
Q. What is your current occupation?
A. I am retired.
Q. Where are you retired from?
A. The FBI. Q. What years of service did you put in with the FBI?
A. From October of 1970 through April of 1996.
Q. Was all that time spent as a Special Agent for the FBI?
A. Yes, it was.
Q. As part of your duties did you at some point become assigned to work out of Rapid City on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. When did you first begin your assignment there, sir?
A. In July of 1975.
Q. While you were there at Pine Ridge did you become involved in the investigation of a murder that, where the body was found on February 24, 1976?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Was that an individual ultimately determined to be Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash?
Q. Sir, can you tell us what your first involvement in that matter was?
A. Well, I actually was the first agent that was present at the scene of the crime, or the scene where the body was found.
Q. When you were notified where were you, sir?
A. At the police station in Pine Ridge, the BIA police station.
Q. About how far is it from there to the scene?
A. I really, mileages are not my strong suit. It takes a while to get there, I don't recall how long it was.
Q. When you arrived at the scene what did you observe, sir?
A. There were people there already, and we went to where the people were gathered, and there was a body laying at the base of a cliff, if you will.
Q. Did you observe the condition of the body?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Can you describe to us what the condition was?
A. The skin was black, badly deteriorated. The body was, clothed, but the body itself was in I would say an advanced stage of deterioration.
Q. In terms of the ability to identify that body, how would you describe her?
A. I would have to say unidentifiable.
Q. What decision' was made then in terms of dealing with the crime scene and the body, sir?
A. Well, the clothes were gone through, the pockets and that sort of a thing, to try to find some identification. There was some jewelry on the body, and we checked to see if we could remove the jewelry to see if there was a name inscribed on the back or something like that, and the skin came off with it, so we left that alone. Took photographs, and inspected the crime, or inspected the scene.
Q. Was that piece of jewelry a bracelet on one of the hands?
A. Yes, it was.
Q. Did you then seek to have an autopsy performed in this case?
A. Yes, we did.
Q. Can you tell us what occurred in that regard, sir?
A. There was an examiner from Nebraska that was the person who was used for that type of activity, and we notified him. The body was transported to the hospital at Pine Ridge, and Dr. Brown is his name, he came up and performed the autopsy.
Q. Were you present at the autopsy, sir?
A. No, I was not.
Q. Were you initially assigned this matter as the case agent?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. What does that mean in FBI terminology?
A. As a case agent, you direct the investigation. Information comes to the case agent, and you analyze it, decide what to do next. If you need help, you ask for help, and that sort of a thing.
Q. Were steps taken to identify the individual whose body was found?
Q. Can you tell me what steps were taken, sir?
A. Oh, we did things including contacting other agencies to see if there was any missing person report filed. We did take that piece of jewelry and went to stores that handled jewelry to see if they would recognize it, for instance, and be able to say who, remember who had purchased it. Circulated a description that we could get from the body, and just tried to find out who the missing person was.
Q. Were other steps taken to identify the body through fingerprints?
A. Yes, indeed. During the autopsy we had the coroner remove the hands so that they could be sent into the FBI laboratory where they are able to take fingerprint impressions from dead skin and deteriorated skin.
Q. Did an FBI agent ultimately take custody of those hands and send them in?
Q. Who would that have been, sir?
A. That was John Munis.
Q. Did you retain this case, or was the case reassigned at some point?
A. The case was reassigned fairly quickly.
Q. Who received the assignment then?
A. I can only give you my best recollection, I am not sure of that. I think it was Bill Wood.
Q. After that did that pretty much end your involvement with it?
MR. MANDEL: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Cross exam.
CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR. RENSCH:
Q. Morning, sir.
A. Good morning.
Q. In 1975 were you a Special Agent for the FBI?
Q. What did your duties include?
A. As of when I arrived in Rapid City?
Q. Yes, in 1975?
A. General case work. Most of our case work at that time was down at the Pine Ridge Reservation. I was assigned cases just routinely for whatever felony types of things, complaints came in.
Q. Were you in any way involved in the cultivation of informants?
Q. How so?
A. As a Special Agent that's one of your duties is to cultivate informants, try to find places, sources of information.
Q. Was there any particular program that you were following in 1975 concerning the cultivation of informants?
A. My answer is no, other than the FBI program.
Q. What is the name of the FBI program?
A. Well, it is just part of a job description.
Q. Have you ever heard of COINTELPRO?
Q. Is that what it is?
A. I frankly don't, I have heard about COINTELPRO through media and that sort of a thing, but I frankly have never beer involved in whatever that was. So I don't know what that is, I am sorry.
Q. In 1975 then you had no special training in anything to do with COINTELPRO, is that your testimony, sir?
A. That's correct.
Q. Were you aware of any other Special Agent or field officer in this district or in this area, the area of Western South Dakota, who was involved in that program?
A. No, sir.
Q. Were you aware of the individual named Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash before her body was discovered?
A. I believe that I knew that there was a fugitive by that name. It is hard to say when I first heard about that name. So I would say probably at that date I was aware that such an individual existed.
Q. Prior to that time how many other cases had you been involved in where someone's hands were cut off to identify them?
A. None that I recall.
Q. Since that time how many cases have you been involved with where someone's hands were cut off for identification?
A. None that I recall.
Q. When you send in fingerprints with the FBI back in 1975, a person has to look at the fingerprints and compare them with other fingerprints to see if they are the same, isn't that correct?
A. Would you mind restating that question?
Q. I would be happy to. When you sent in fingerprints back in 1975, with the technology that was available in 1975, you had to know of a set of fingerprints that they could be compared to to see if they were a person's fingerprints, did you not?
MR. MANIJEL: I object to this as beyond the scope and not within this witness's expertise.
THE COURT: Sustained.
BY MR. RENSCH:
Q. When these hands were sent in to determine the identification, do you know if any information was forwarded along that they might be Ms. Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash's hands?
A. Well, I did not prepare a communication, but in my own mind I am certain there was no information like that sent in.
Q. Incidentally, were you involved in taking a metal detector out to the scene to try to see if there were any bullets or anything like that?
A. No, sir.