Aquash Murder Case Timeline
by Paul DeMain

[Updated 3/28/05. It is now 9:57]

The dates December 10-11-12, 1975 are now established dates based on statements and testimony from those who saw Annie Mae during this period. From the passage of time, occasional narratives and transcripts obtained by News From Indian Country have varied by a few days.

The following timeline is an updated version. It was created and posted online first in 1997, last updated on January 28, 2004, December of 2004 and March, 2005.

June 6-18, 1975: Annie Mae's intimate relationship with Dennis Banks is revealed to Ka-Mook Banks prior to the Farmington, New Mexico AIM National Convention. Annie Mae is questioned by Bob Robideau, Dino Butler and Leonard Peltier as a possible informant at a nearby Mesa. Bob Robideau claims that the questioning of Annie Mae is done at the order of Vernon Bellecourt and Dennis Banks. Iris Thundercloud indicates to journalist Minnie Two Shoes that immediately after the interrogation, Annie Mae tells her that Peltier had stuck a pistol in her mouth during the interrogation.

June, 1975: According to Ka-Mook Nichols, while her and Dennis Banks are in Custer, South Dakota staying at the Bavarian Inn, for Dennis's trial on the Custer riot charges, Leonard Crow Dog angerly indicates to Dennis Banks that he no longer wants Annie Mae coming on his land because she is an informant.

June 26, 1975: Joe Stuntz is killed by a law enforcement officer. FBI agents Jack Coler, and Ron Williams are shot from a distance, wounded and then executed at close range for which Peltier is later convicted.

June 27, 1975: Jean Day, Theda Nelson Clark, John Boy Patton-Graham and Annie Mae return to Oglala from Cedar Rapids, Iowa where they have been working on the post-trial conviction hearings for Leonard Crow Dog.

June 27, 1975: Harry David Hill and Tony Ament (Thelma Rio's son-in-law) bomb the Mt. Rushmore Tourist Center on this day.

July 7, 1975: Search warrant is served on 1014 Milwaukee Street and several hundred pieces of evidence is seized in conjunction with RESMURS FBI agent shooting case and bombing of Mt. Rushmore. Charges of possession of a firearm with obliterated serial number, unlawful possession of firearms and transportation of firearms are filed against Harry David (Mr. X) Hill.

July 18, 1975: Vernon Bellecourt appears with FBI informer, Bernie Morning Gun in Helena, MT and gives other informers an unconditional amnesty for 30 days, or AIM will take things into their own hands.

First week of August, 1975: Sun Dance at Crow Dog's Paradise: Leonard Crow Dog allegedly confronts Annie Mae about being an informant again.

August 5, 1975: Dennis Banks goes underground to avoid being sentenced on the Custer riot charges on this day.

September 5, 1975: FBI raid at Al and Diane Running's (Crow Dog's sister) and Crow Dog's Paradise: Arrest of Annie Mae and Dino Butler and many others. Robideau had left the day before with Ka-Mook Banks and her sister Bernie Nichols. Annie Mae interrogated by FBI, bonds out of jail after 2 or 3 days.

September 8, 1975: Annie Mae bonds out of jail after appearing before a U.S. magistrate on 10% of a $5,000 bond. Aquash had usually been one of the first to be bailed out by members of AIM because of her valuable fundraising connections in California and elsewhere.

September 12, 1975: Annie Mae, Nilak Butler and Norman Brown leave Rapid City for Denver, with John Stewart driving. They board a plane the next day to go to California.

September 13, 1975: FBI picks up Annie Mae and Nilak Butler getting off plane in Los Angeles, questioned and released. Leonard Peltier and Dennis Banks are allegedly in Los Angles as well and may have been waiting to pick them up at the airport.

October 3-8(?), 1975: Annie Mae and David Hill drive Marlon Brando's motor home from California to Utah to Chadron, Nebraska.

October 10-14, 1975: Harry David Hill, Annie Mae, Leonard Peltier, Ka-Mook and Dennis Banks are involved in several bombings in the Pine Ridge area. Hill allegedly harasses Annie Mae about being an informant. The group leaves for Oregon shortly after, being joined by Kenny Loud Hawk in a white station wagon. Russ Redner joins the group in Washington at John Chiquita's residence.

Late October, 1975: FBI Informant A tells FBI Banks is in Oregon area with the Marlon Brando motor home. Annie Mae tells friends she wants to leave and go to Canada but is not allowed too. Ka-Mook Banks in the CBC - Fifth Estate special says that Annie Mae is along on the trip to be watched because Dennis Banks and Leonard Peltier "don't trust her, and believe she is working in some capacity as an informant."

October, 1975: Peltier brags to Annie Mae, Ka-Mook and others about shooting the two FBI agents on June 26, 1975. Testimony of KaMook (Darlene) Nichols, the former wife of Dennis Banks on February 4, 2004 during the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud, AIM Security Guard convicted of murder.

Q. While you were camping in Washington, were there any discussions had in which you and Anna Mae were present in which sensitive material that you wouldn't have wanted in the hands of law enforcement was discussed?

KaMook Nichols: Yes.

Q. Give me an example?

KaMook Nichols: We were sitting one day at the table in this motor home. Anna Mae was sitting by me and my sister was on the other side, and Dennis was standing in the aisle, and Leonard was sitting on this side, he alternated between sitting and standing. And he started talking about June 26, and he put his hand like this and started talking about the two FBI agents.

Q. What did he say? (By MR. McMAHON)

Q. Tell the Court as best you remember exactly what he said?

KaMook Nichols: Exactly what he said.

Q. Exactly what he said?

KaMook Nichols: He said the motherfucker was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway.

Q. Had you ever heard that before?

KaMook Nichols: No.

Early November: FBI Informant A notifies FBI, Banks is at John Chiquiti residence on the Port Madison Reservation in Washington State. A clam bake is held at the John Chiquiti residence celebrating the arrival of Dennis Banks, Leonard Peltier, Annie Mae and other AIM members. Many regional AIM members are present and NFIC has confirmed that Peltier has bragged to several people along the route to California including Theda Nelson Clark in Denver about killing the agents. Peltier is brandishing FBI agent Coler's service revolver to others as a trophy.

Early November, 1975: FBI Informant B notifies FBI, Peltier is at John Chiquiti residence.

November 6 & 8, 1975: Attorney Bob Riter of Pierre, South Dakota in letters requests the assistance of Attorney Bruce Ellison in notifying Riter's client, Anna Mae Aquash, that she has an appearance to make Nov. 10th, 1975. Riter is the alleged author of a letter to Annie Mae which includes information regarding an offer being made by the federal government to Aquash. Riter refuses to confirm such a letter to NFIC during an interview, but other NFIC sources say the letter is obtained by WKLDOC attorney Bruce Ellison.

November 13, 1975: Two Informants confirm Banks and Peltier in Oregon.

November 14, 1975: Oregon/Banks Brando Vehicle Shoot-out: (Peltier, Dennis and Ka-Mook Banks, Annie Mae, Kenny Loud Hawk, Russ Redner). Aquash, Redner, Loudhawk and Ka-Mook arrested. Peltier and Banks flee.

November 18, 1975: FBI issues 20 page document on Peltier's fugitive status regarding deaths of FBI agents, Milwaukee attempted murder charge (later acquitted) and the death of Jeanette Bissonette.

November 24, 1975: Arraignment of Annie Mae, Pierre, SD. Annie Mae is represented by court appointed attorney Robert Riter. Bonds out of jail on weapons charge. Annie Mae checks into a Pierre motel along with WKLD/OC attorney Bruce Ellison, legal assistants and defendants and is later picked up by the late Evelyn Bordeaux and Ray Hand Boy and driven to Keensburg, Colorado. Aquash apparently believes that Dennis Banks will meet her there.

November 25, 1975: Indictment of Peltier, Robideau, Butler, for the Murder of FBI agents June 26, 1975. Bench warrant for failure to appear for Annie Mae on weapons charges on the Rosebud arrest of September 5th. Annie Mae and others stop at a bar (Julian's) in Keensburg, Colorado owned by the husband of Theda Nelson Clark of Denver AIM. Hand Boy and Bordeaux return the next day to South Dakota.

November 28, 1975: Annie Mae goes to stay at the home of Troy Lynn Yellow Wood-Williams at 4494 Pecos St, Denver, Colorado.

Tuesday, December 9, 1975: Harry David Hill is subpeoned by federal prosecutors and ordered to appear December 11 and 12, 1975 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to testify in the case of Russell Means, charged with riot in Custer, South Dakota. Hill is paid a travel advance of $246.40 for travel and court expenses.

Wednesday, December 10, 1975:

According to the court testimony of Angie Janis, who in 1975 was working for the Native American Rights Fund. Thelma Rios-Conroy/Hill calls her from Rapid City, South Dakota and indicates that Janis needs to let certain people in Denver AIM know that Annie Mae is an informant. The general belief amongst AIM leadership, (Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt, Dennis Banks) is that Annie Mae may have given up the Marlo Brando motor home, and may now be assisting in the indictments against Peltier and other ResMur suspects.

Janis goes to the home of Troy Lynn Yellow Wood and relays the message to either Theda Nelson Clark, and/or John Boy Patton-Graham.

Annie Mae is reportedly tied up in a chair while a dozen or more people are in and out of the house including allegedly, Corky Gonzales and Ernesto Vigil from the Crusade for Justice, who allegedly threatened to kill her, Angie Begay, Annie Begay, Frank Dillon, George and Angie Phelfey, Arlene Means, Sioux Casper-Black, Norma Williams, Velma Williams (Theda's sisters) and others.

Janis testifies that while at Troy Lynn Yellow Wood's home she sees Aquash tied up and brought out of the basement by John Boy Patton Graham, Arlo Looking Cloud and Theda Nelson Clark before being transported to Rapid City, South Dakota.

Annie Mae is reportedly tied up in a chair while a dozen or more people are in and out of the house including allegedly, Corky Gonzales and Ernesto Vigil from the Crusade for Justice, who allegedly threatened to kill her, Angie Begay, Annie Begay, Frank Dillon, George and Angie Phelfey, Arlene Means, Sioux Casper-Black, Norma Williams, Velma Williams (Theda's sisters) and others.

Annie Mae according to a 1999 Globe and Mail article, stayed with Troy Lynn Yellow Wood for a couple of weeks and is then taken by force from the Denver home by AIM members Arlo Looking Cloud, John Boy Graham and Theda Nelson Clark in order to be questioned about being an informant.

Several NFIC sources confirm that Vernon Bellecourt is making statements about Annie Mae being either informant A or B in the Marlo Brando Motor home bust. Bellecourt reportedly believes Roque Duenas is the other informant. Bellecourt in an 1999 interview with Native American Journalists in Minneapolis says that he is in California with Dennis Banks during the time period referenced here.

Several witnesses ( in the February 2004 trial of Arlo Looking Cloud testify that Annie Mae is tied up and placed in the basement of Troy Lynn Yellow Wood's basement before being loaded into Theda Clark's red pinto. Arlo Looking Cloud in a taped interview with Denver Police after booking in the Aquash indictment says "John Boy Graham tied her up."

John Trudell in the CBC - Fifth Estate special says he receives a phone call from Troy Lynn indicating that Annie Mae was taken away from Yellow Wood's house against her will. John Boy Graham in the CBC special admits that Annie Mae is in the car going from Denver to Rapid City, South Dakota with him but Graham refuses to name anyone else that is in the car.

Thursday, December 11, 1975: Annie Mae is taken to the offices of the Wounded Knee Legal Defense Committee in Rapid City and is questioned by Madonna Gilbert and Lorlie DeCora-Means, and Attorney Bruce Ellison are present. Candy Hamilton testifies in the 2004 Looking Cloud trial that Ted Means, Clyde Bellecourt, Madonna Gilbert, Lorelie DeCory and Tom Poor Bear are at the WKLD/OC offices this day when Annie Mae is there. In courtbench discussions, federal prosecutors define long-time Peltier attorney, Bruce Ellison as a co-conspirator in the case who has invoked his 5th Amendments rights against self-incrimination both during the trial and grand juries and refused to testify. (See Ellison testimony - "...he's exercised his 5th Amendment right. He is a coconspirator, it is a coconspirator's statement made in the furtherance and course of the conspiracy.")

A document is allegedly produced by Ellison, (believed to be the alleged Attorney Riter letter) which is said to outline a government offer to Annie Mae involving her cooperation in the ResMur FBI shooting. Riter refused to discuss the contents of this letter during a 1999 interview with NFIC.

Candy Hamilton, legal assistant in the CBC - Fifth Estate special says she is working upstairs at the WKLD/OC offices when Annie Mae was being questioned in a downstairs room. Kathy James, Toby and Lucky Hollander, legal assistants are reportedly working at the WKL/OC offices during this general period as well.

Had Candy Hamilton been allowed to complete her statement interrupted by Looking Cloud's attorney Tim Rensch, a friend of Ellison, she would have stated in court as she had told News From Indian Country, that she heard Bruce Ellison say to Thelma Rios, when he arrived at Thelma's house on Thursday Morning Dec. 11 that "They had Annie Mae over at the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee office."

Hamilton and Kathy James, WKLD/OC members had stayed overnight at Rios' house while preparing material for the trial of Russell Means in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Ellison was later identified as being one of several people in the WKLD/OC office, also where Bruce Ellisons' office was located, that interrogated Annie Mae on Thursday, December 11th.

David Hill, who had been living with Thelma Rios-Conroy during 1974-75, shows up in the Rapid City area during this time from Salt Lake City, Utah, allegedly having come back from west coast meetings with Dennis Banks, Vernon Bellecourt and allegedly Peltier.

Thursday, December 11, 1975: Annie Mae is reportedly taken from the WKLDC offices and held at the home of Thelma Rios-Conroy at 1014 Milwaukee St. before being moved to another home owned by Rios-Conroy on Norwood Heights. Thelma's elderly mother allegedly tells other people she witnesses a woman being held at the house during this period. During this time frame NFIC has been told that again several leadership members of AIM take part in discussions regarding Annie Mae being an informant. Dennis Banks is allegedly part of these discussions by phone and is said to be aware that Annie Mae is being held for questioning. In addition, WKLD/OC attorney Bruce Ellison is named by NFIC sources as encouraging the idea that Annie Mae is an informant after her questioning and also shows up at Thelma Rios' house saying that Annie Mae is at the WKLD/OC house. Ellison pleads the fifth amendment against self-incrimination at grand jury hearings in 2003. Arlo Looking Cloud, John Graham, and Zeno Little are allegedly posted as guards to the room Annie Mae is being held in.

Friday, December 12, 1975: Annie Mae is reportedly taken from Rapid City earlty this morning after being raped and beaten, allegedly by John Graham and others, to the home of Richard and Cleo Gates at Pass Creek, Allen, South Dakota area. Prosecutors ask questions during the 2004 Looking Cloud trial, of Cleo Gates related to whether there may have been any guns in their house.

Testimony by Cleo Marshal-Gates establishes that Arlo Looking Cloud, John Graham, Theda Clark and Richard Marshal, her former husband hold a private conversation in the back bedroom of the Marshall trailer. Richard Marshall refuses to keep Annie Mae in his home even though the trio had a note which asked Marshal to "take care of this baggage." Richard (Dick) Marshal allegedly refused to testify at the Looking Cloud trial either for the prosecution or defense with or without a grant of immunity. (See Cleo Gates testimony)

Prosecutors and witneses familiar with the case believe that Marshal may have provided the gun that killed Annie Mae to Arlo Looking Cloud during this back bedroom meeting, however prosecutors were not able to establish that as a fact during Looking Cloud's trial, and Marshal remained uncooperative when questioned about the meeting he had with Looking Cloud, Graham and Clark.

According to the testimony of Richard Two Elk during the Looking Cloud trial, Arlo once told him that he originally had the gun the killed Annie Mae, but could not shoot her, and handed it to John Graham who did. (See Two Elk testimony)

Looking Cloud recieving, and having the gun would be consistent with Lakota traditional ethics and dealing with AIM-Dog Soldier protocal. (Not to be confused with the Cheyenne Military Veteran Societies called Crazy Dogs, or Dog Soldiers) Graham was not a Lakota, and a woman would not generally have been assigned the responsibility of dealing with Lakota/AIM Dog Soldier business on Lakota land, therefore, it is more likely that Looking Cloud originally did have or recieved the gun.

Annie Mae is then taken to Bill Means home nearby during the early morning hours. Several AIM members are allegedly at the home of Bill Means, including Clyde Bellecourt, David Hill, Ted and Bill Means. Russell Means in a November 1999 Denver press conference says that Vernon Bellecourt calls his brother Clyde from Minneapolis and orders the execution of Annie Mae. Vernon Bellecourt in an 1999 interview with several Native journalists in response to the Means' press conference says he called the home of Bill Means during that period on a daily basis, and was in California during early December, not in Minneapolis.

Both Arlo Looking Cloud in a taped video recording played during his trial, and John Graham in a taped recorded conversation February 11, 2001 have admitted that they are in Theda Clark' pinto when it leaves Bill (Kills) Means house sometime before daybreak on December 12, 1975.

Early Friday Morning, December 12, 1975: Theda Nelson Clark is driving the same Red Pinto they left in from Denver, Colorado with John Boy Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud, and Annie Mae is tied up in the back seat. According to a year 2000 narrative by Richard Two Elk relating what Arlo Looking Cloud has told him over the years, John Boy Graham, allegedly shoots Annie Mae after "Arlo hands him the gun" around daybreak on December 12, 1975, with Theda Clark looking on from her car. In the CBC - Fifth Estate special John Boy Graham denies shooting Annie Mae, and says in another interview he intends to say he was not there.

John Trudell in the CBC - Fifth Estate describes the scene told to him by Arlo Looking Cloud: "Annie Mae was trying to pray for her daughters, and then John Boy shot her."

Friday, December 12, 1975: Herb Powless is featured in a picture in the Rapid City Journal smiling as he comes out of the courthouse the day before on December 11, 1975. Powless is acquited by a jury on a firearms charge.

Monday, December 15th: Russell Means is convicted of riot according to a story in the Rapid City Journal.

Tuesday, December 16th: Russell Means is quoted in the Rapid City Journal saying that he will appeal Monday's conviction for riot in Custer, South Dakota. Means is allowed to remain free on bond pending appeal of his case.

February 24, 1976: Jane Doe is found 10 miles from Wanblee on Hwy 73 on Pine Ridge reservation by Roger Amiotte.

February 24, 1976: Testimony of Ka-Mook Nichols, February 2004 during Arlo Looking Cloud's trial:

Q. Did you ever see Anna Mae alive again?

Ka-Mook: No.

Q. When did you find out she was dead?

Ka-Mook: On February 24th.

Q. How do you remember it was February 24th?

Ka-Mook:. Because Dennis called me.

Q. Dennis Banks?

Ka-Mook: Yes.

Q. How did you relate that call to the date of February 24th?

Ka-Mook: Because he was in San Francisco, I was in Portland, Oregon. We had, in the house we lived was our office, and when he called I was sitting at the desk and I was speaking to him before he told me this, I looked at the calendar and it was my nephew's birthday, and I was remembering it was my nephew's birthday and I needed to call him, and Dennis told me they had found Anna Mae.

Q. That's February 24, 1976?

Ka-Mook: Yes.

February 25/26, 1976: John Trudell is testifying at the Butler/Robideau trial in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 22, 1976 and tells the court, according to transcripts, "Dennis (Banks) told me she had been shot in the back of the head. He told me this on February, about the 25th or 26th of February.... He told me this in California... I know it was within two days or so after they had found the body and I knew nothing about that." "I was setting in the car with Dennis and he said, 'You know that body they found? That is Annie Mae.' I didn't know about a body." Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt are also in the car according to Trudell.

March 2, 1976: Annie Mae buried at Holy Rosary Mission cemetery as Jane Doe.

March 3, 1976: Severed hands of Jane Doe are identified as Annie Mae's by FBI Identification Bureau in Washington DC.

March 5, 1976: Pictou family in Nova Scotia notified of identification of Jane Doe.

March 6, 1976: FBI announces publicly the identification of Annie Mae.

March 9, 1976: Dr. Gary Peterson determines that Annie Mae was shot in the back of the head once, and died some hours later of exposure.

February 6, 2004: Arlo Looking Cloud is convicted of being a party to 1st Degree Murder by a multi-racial jury of White, Black and Native jurors in Rapid City, South Dakota.

December 6, 2004: Extradition hearings begin in Vancouver, British Columbia against John Boy Patton-Graham.

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