Testimony of William Wood in the
Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud
February, 2004

Call your next witness.

MR. MANDEL: The United States would call William Wood.


called as a witness, being first duly sworn, testified and

said as follows:


Q. Sir, would you state your name, please?

A. William B. Wood.

Q. What is your current occupation?

A. I am retired.

Q. And what are you retired from, sir?

A. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Q. Were you a Special Agent with the FBI?

A. Yes, sir, I was.

Q. How long were you employed in that capacity?

A. Thirty-one years.

Q. What years was that, sir?

A. From 1966 to 1997.

Q. Sir, did you spend some of those years operating out of,

in Rapid City, South Dakota?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. Can you tell me what years you were in Rapid City?

A. From 1975 to 1992.

Q. As part of your duties did you investigate federal

crimes occurring on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you become involved in the investigation of the

death of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. Can you tell me when you first became involved in that,

sir, if you recall?

A. In, it was in February of 1976.

Q. How did you become involved?

A. I was assigned the case, and the original case agent was

Agent Dealing, and I was assigned the case after him, and was

assigned to conduct the investigation concerning her death.

Q. At the time you originally were assigned to the case,

had there been an identification made?

A. Not at that time, no.

Q. Can you tell us then the sequence of events as to what

happened in terms of how the identification was made?

A. The identification was made from the hands that, of the

victim after they had been removed at the first autopsy by

Dr. Brown. And turned over to Agent Munis, and the

identification division, through fingerprints obtained, that

the identification division identified the remains as those of

Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash. And when we found that identity out,

then I was assigned to get a Court Order for the exhumation of

the body.

Q. Why was that, sir?

A. Because the, for one thing, I did not believe that, the

original cause of death being given as exposure, I didn't

believe that that would be the truth, and I wanted to have the

body re-examined, and applied for the Court Order and was

granted that by Judge Bogue, and the body was exhumed, and the

second autopsy was performed.

Q. Now had you had previous experience with Dr. Brown as a


A. Not personally, no. I know that he had been conducting

autopsies for cases on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for a

number of years, and I was not personally acquainted with the man.

Q. After the exhumation order was received from Judge

Bogue, what steps took place next?

A. I went down to the reservation with two other agents,

and on March the 11th of 1976, and the BIA was using a backhoe

to dig for remains that they had been buried at a cemetery

across from Holy Rosary Mission.

Q. Can I ask you if you know, sir, why were the remains

buried before the body was identified, or that all effort had

been exhausted?

A. That I do not know. We requested that the body not be

interred, but it was.

Q. What took place at Holy Rosary then, sir?

A. At the exhumation, after the body was exhumed it was

placed on a flat bed truck of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and

taken to the Pine Ridge hospital and then taken into the

morgue, and Dr. Peterson was present, and myself and Special

Agent Gary Adams were present during the autopsy.

Q. How was it that Dr. Peterson was selected as the

individual to perform the autopsy?

A. To the best of my recollection I believe that we had

been contacted by Bruce Ellison, and he had wanted to have an

independent pathologist examine the body. And I don't recall

if we had selected or if Mr. Ellison and his office had

selected Dr. Peterson, but Dr. Peterson was acceptable to us,

because I knew that he was the medical examiner in Hennepin

County, and has a good reputation as a good and thorough


Q. What took place then when the second autopsy was

conducted, sir?

A. The first thing that was done was Dr. Peterson had

X-rays taken, and I was not in the room when the X-rays were

taken, of course, but after the X-rays were taken and the film

was developed, then he determined that there was a piece of

metal in her head around the left eye socket.

Q. Was he able to extract that piece of metal?

A. Yes, he was.

Q. Did he provide it to you?

A. Yes, sir, provided it to me, and I gave him a receipt for it.

Q. Were you able to visually identify that item?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Could you generally tell what it was looking at it?

A. Yes, sir.

(Exhibit 33 marked For identification.)


Q. Sir, I have provided you with what has been marked

Exhibit 33, I will ask you if you can identify that item?

A. Yes, sir, that appears to be the piece of metal that was

taken out of the head of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, her remains.

Q. Sir, what did you do with that item?

A. After giving him a receipt, then I placed it in this box.

Q. Did you place your initials on the box?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. Are they still there?

A. Yes, sir, they are.

Q. Other than that Exhibit sticker that I put inside the

box that shows Exhibit 33, does that appear to be in pretty

much the same condition as when you did it?

A. Yes, sir, it does.

Q. After obtaining that bullet, what action did you take next?

A. I had taken the hands with me down to the autopsy, and

the hands were turned over to Dr. Peterson for inclusion back

with the body at the conclusion of the autopsy, and I also,

the body was turned over to Bruce Ellison, and then I gave

Mr. Ellison a receipt, or he gave me a receipt for that.

MR. MANDEL: Your Honor, I offer Exhibit 33 at this time.

MR. RENSCH: No objection.

THE COURT: Exhibit 33 is received.


Q. Was the body re-interred after that to your knowledge?

A. Yes, sir, it was.

Q. Where was that, if you know?

A. I do not know.

Q. In terms of the investigation of this case, can you tell

us what actions you took initially at that time to pursue the


A. Well, just we contacted as many people as we could find

that, attempting to interview various people that we knew that

Ms. Aquash had associated with. And many of those people were

not interested in speaking with us, and we just kept running

in to many, many different blind alleys, if you will, where we

couldn't get very many people to talk to us. And we could

not, we had a very difficult time tracing her activities from

the last time that she had been known to be alive by us.

Q. Was this kind of running in to a brick wall a common

problem in investigations down on Pine Ridge back at that time?

MR. RENSCH: That's a leading question, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Sustained.


Q. Was it unusual to have difficulty getting cooperation in

an investigation down there?

A. It was very common at that time, specially in connection

with a matter such as this where she had ties to the American

Indian Movement, and also to the Wounded Knee Legal

Defense-Offense Committee.

Q. Sir, did you conduct a further investigation at the

crime scene at any point?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. Were you out there initially when the body was found?

A. No, I was not.

Q. But were you, how were you able first of all to

determine that you were at the correct scene when you went

back to look at it?

A. Well, for one thing I think probably Nate Merrick may

have pointed it out to me, and some, probably Agent Dealing

may have pointed it out to me. I don't remember exactly who

had shown us exactly where it was, but it would have been some

of the law enforcement personnel that were involved in the

initial crime scene.

Q. Can you tell us what further efforts you made at the

crime scene itself, sir?

A. Myself and three other agents went out with, and did a

re-examination of the crime scene. That was on March the

15th, four days after the second autopsy. And at that time

once we had found that she had been shot, then we took a metal

detector with us and examined the crime scene up on top of the

ravine and then down below where her body had been found.

Examined the entire area with the metal detector, and also

visually looking for other items of evidence.

Q. With the use of the metal detector were you able to

locate either any expended cartridges or any other bullets

that had been fired?

A. We found nothing, no form of metal at all anywhere in the area.

Q. Based on the investigation did you have any conclusion

as to where the shooting had taken place?

A. Would you repeat that again, sir?

Q. I guess what I am asking is did you believe the shooting

had taken place where the body was found ultimately, or at

some other location?

A. It was our theory she had probably been shot above and

pushed over the edge of the ravine.

Q. But I guess at that point that was just a theory?

A. Yes, sir, it was, because there was no way for us to

tell, because the body was very badly decomposed when found,

and mummification had set in. And the length of time that it

takes for that to occur, we wouldn't, I mean many times drag

marks or any blood stains or anything that would have been in

the area would have been gone due to weathering.

Q. Did you take other actions after that in this

investigation, sir?

A. Just the normal investigative routines.

Q. During the course of the time you were assigned to the

case did you ever get it to the point where there was enough

evidence to bring charges against any individual?

A. No, sir.

MR. MANDEL: I have no further questions. Your


THE COURT: You may cross examine.

MR. RENSCH: Thank you. Your Honor.


Q. What day did you folks take out the metal detector to

where this body was found and examine the area?

A. It was March the 15th.

Q. How long did it take for you to examine the area with

the metal detector?

A. I don't recall the exact amount of time that we were out there.

Q. Roughly?

A. I am guessing we probably spent three or four hours out

there at least.

Q. Who were you with?

A. I was with Special Agent John McCarty, George Haffner

and Edman Bean.

Q. Who was operating the metal detector?

A. I do not recall who operated that, it was not me.

Q. What area was searched?

A. The area immediately above where the body was found, and

probably as best I can recall we probably would have gone 25

to 50 feet out, and all the way back to the road. And then

the area down where her body was found and the adjacent area

to that going up. I don't recall how far.

Q. So you searched the area immediately around her body to

see if you could find any metal, is that right?

A. Yes, sir, and extending out a ways, yes, sir.

Q. Do you have any notes or reports concerning how far out you went?

A. I have a, just my report notes. Not that says how far

we went out, no.

Q. Who is Bruce Ellison?

A. Bruce Ellison is an attorney that was representing the

Wounded Knee legal Defense-Offense Committee.

Q. When he was talking to your office about getting

Ms. Pictou-Aquash's body exhumed, did he make any

representations about being a lawyer for the family?

A. At some point he did make mention that he was. When I

gave him the remains, he said that he represented the family

at that time.

Q. Isn't it true, sir, that he initiated efforts to get

this body exhumed?

A. No, sir, it is not.

Q. When did you initiate efforts to get the body exhumed?

A. I don't recall the exact date. It was when we found

out, when we received information from the identification

division, from that moment on is when we started our efforts

to get the Court Order.

Q. Your duties as a Special Agent in 1975 in this area

included what, sir?

A. Just investigating crimes on an Indian Reservation, on

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation specifically.

Q. Did you also include among your duties the cultivation

of informants within the American Indian Movement?

A. Within my duties as a Special Agent of the FBI, as with

any law enforcement agency, is to gather information in any

way you can, and development of informants is one tool that is

utilized by law enforcement, yes, sir.

Q. Now in December of 1975 there were informants within the

American Indian Movement, were there not, sir?

A. I don't personally know that, no.

Q. You didn't receive any information in December of 1975

from any informant of the FBI about the circumstances

surrounding Ms. Aquash's death, did you?

A. No, sir, I did not.

Q. Did you personally handle any informants in December of 1975?

A. Yes, sir, I think I probably had some informants at that time.

Q. Did any of your informants include an individual by the

name of David Hill?

A. No, sir, that name is not -- no.

Q. Are there different levels of labels given to people who

give information to the FBI?

A. Different levels?

Q. Of labels, is there a difference say between an

informant and a cooperating witness?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Is there a term given to a person who might provide a

small tip about something to the FBI?

A. Yes.

Q. What is that, what term is it?

A. Well, it could be considered an informant.

Q. What is an operative?

A. I don't know how you are using the term, sir.

Q. Well, I want to talk about how the FBI would have used

the term in 1975?

A. That term was not a commonly used term at that era as

far as I recall.

Q. In December of 1975 were you personally in contact with

or receiving information from any known operative of the FBI

within the American Indian Movement?

A. No, sir.

Q. Do you know what COINTELPRO is, sir?

A. I have heard the term.

Q. Did you receive any special training while were you a

Special Agent with the FBI?

A. Special training in what?


A. No, sir.

Q. Did you ever take active efforts to snitch jacket a person?

A. To do what?

Q. Snitch jacket a person?

A. I don't know how you are using that term, sir.

Q. Did you ever take active efforts to start rumors that

people who were not informants were informants?

A. Absolutely not, no.

Q. Were you ever trained in any way to have informants or

operatives say that people who weren't really informants were

informants to create dissension within the American Indian


A. As far as I know that wasn't a technique that was used.

Q. Did you ever do that?

A. No, sir.

Q. Now you knew that Ms. Aquash was approached by the FBI

and they wanted her to be an informant, did you not know that, sir?

A. No, sir, I did not.

Q. You were not involved in that at all?

A. No, sir, I was not.

Q. Did you have a partner in the FBI?

A. We would partner up from time-to-time. We would ride

with various individuals, but to have an assigned partner at

that time, no.

Q. Was David Price a person you would ride with from


A. Yes, sir.

Q. He is also an FBI agent?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were you ever present when he attempted to have

Ms. Aquash become an informant?

A. No, sir, I was not.

Q. Were you ever instructed by him to try to recruit

Ms. Pictou-Aquash to be an informant?

A. No, sir, I was not.

Q. Did you ever take part in steps to damage the reputation

of people who refused to become informants?

A. No, sir. I mean that wasn't a part of what we did.

Q. So back in 1975, as far as you know, there was no effort

by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to plant rumors and

create dissension within the American Indian Movement, is that

your testimony?

A. I never did that, and I don't know of anyone else that

was doing that.

Q. Were you ever a party to that being done to the Black Panthers?

MR. MANDEL: Objection, relevance.

THE COURT: Sustained.


Q. What was it you were looking for with the metal

detector, sir?

A. Any metal, any other bullets or shell casings, just a routine.

Q. Why would it be important to find bullets if they were

in the ground near a person's body?

A. Well, it could indicate a struggle, or it could indicate

a number of different things, but we wouldn't know that until

we had solved the case. I mean it is just an investigative

tool to find anything that might, specially in a situation

like that where it had been some time since the incident had

occurred, at least a month or two, and not knowing exactly how

long it had happened. It would also be to find any other

pieces of evidence. There could be bracelets, or jewelry, or

something like that. There could be all kinds of things,

metal things out there that could be beneficial to the solving

of the case.

Q. Other than the body, and what was inside the body, and

some hair strands that were found on the embankment, did you

find any other physical evidence whatsoever which told you

what happened at the scene when this poor woman was killed?

A. No, sir.

MR. RENSCH: Thank you, sir, nothing further.

THE COURT: Redirect?

MR. MANDEL: No further questions, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Thank you Mr. Wood, you may step down.

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