Testimony of John Munis in the
Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud
February, 2004

MR. MANDEL: United States would call John Munis, Your Honor.

JOHN MUNIS 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. John Munis.

THE COURT: How do you spell it?

A. M-U-N-I-S.

THE COURT: Thank you.

BY MR. MANDEL:

Q. What's your current occupation?

A. I am retired.

Q. What are you retired from, sir?

A. From the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Q. Were you a Special Agent with the bureau?

A. Yes, I was.

Q. What years did you serve in that capacity, sir?

A. From 1968 to 1996.

Q. As part of your duties were you at any time assigned to work out of the Rapid City resident agency?

A. Yes, from 1975 until 1978.

Q. As part of your duties during that time period, sir, did you become involved in the investigation of the death of an individual later determined to be Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash?

A. I did.

Q. Can you tell us, sir, how you first became involved in that?

A. February 25 of 1976 I was on the reservation. I was at the Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement office and was notified that an autopsy was being conducted at the Pine Ridge hospital. I conferred with the resident agency in Rapid City, South Dakota of the FBI, and was instructed to go over to the autopsy and retrieve any items of evidence that may be available.

Q. Did you do so then?

A. I did. I went to the autopsy momentarily. I met there with a Dr. Brown who was doing the pathology, and also with Nate Merrick, a criminal investigator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Q. Can you tell us what took place then at that autopsy?

A. I was only in the autopsy a very short time. After seeing the condition of the deceased, I left the autopsy, went back and made a call to Rapid City and also to the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C. conferring with these people concerning the condition of the body, and what the best method would be to obtain fingerprints from the deceased.

Q. As you observed it, sir, what was the condition of the body?

A. It was in a very decomposed state.

Q. Particularly what did you observe regarding the hands, sir?

A. The hands were in a shriveled manner so that the fingers were more or less closed.

Q. After conferring with the lab, did they give you an indication of what course of action you needed to take to obtain fingerprints?

A. They did. They said to request from the pathologist that the hands be removed and submitted to the lab so that they could do an analysis and attempt to get fingerprints.

Q. Did the pathologist then remove the hands?

A. He did.

Q. Did you ultimately end up with custody of those hands?

A. I did. I took, custody of the hands went from the pathologist to the crimina1 investigator, Mr. Merrick, and from Mr. Merrick to me, and I took them back to Rapid City the following day and they were submitted to the FBI laboratory.

Q. What fashion were they submitted, how were they handled, were they treated in any particular way?

A. Yes, I was instructed to put each hand in an individual container and add a ten percent formaldehyde solution.

Q. How did you obtain that solution, if you recall?

A. Pardon?

Q. How did you obtain the solution?

A. I don't have specific recollection. I believe I got it from one of the hospitals in Rapid City, but I don't recall specifically where I got it.

Q. In any case, then you packed the hands in that and transmitted them to the laboratory?

A. That is correct.

Q. Sir, did you have any other involvement in the investigation of this case?

A. No, I did not.

MR. MANDEL: Thank you very much.

THE COURT: Cross examine.

CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR. RENSCH:

Q. Who was responsible for the clothing that was on Ms. Pictou-Aquash?

A. Who was responsible for the killing?

Q. The clothing?

A. Oh, for the clothing. The clothing was also removed, and I received the clothing and hair samples at the same time I received the hands.

Q. What clothing did you take into custody as evidence?

A. There was a dress, a pair of moccasins, a bra, a pair of underpants, I believe that was all.

MR. RENSCH: Nothing further, thank you.

THE COURT: Any redirect?

MR. MANDEL: Yes, Your Honor.

REDIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. MANDEL:

Q. Agent Munis, I have handed you an FBI report, I am going to ask you if you recognize that document?

A. I do.

Q. Is that a report that you prepared?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. Is that the transmittal report that went with the clothing you sent in to the FBI laboratory?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. Does viewing that refresh your recollection as to what was sent in on that date?

A. This does refresh my recollection, yes.

Q. Can you tell us what was sent in then, sir?

A. A jacket, blouse, b1uejeans, pair of shoes, pair of socks, panties, hair, and it doesn't mention the hands.

Q. The hands would have been a separate transmittal?

A. Yes.

MR. MANDEL: No further questions, Your Honor.


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