Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams

Thirty-four years ago today, on June 26, 1975, two young FBI Special Agents, Jack R. Coler (left) and Ronald A. Williams (right), were shot to death execution-style at close range after they were already injured and on the ground. I have written about this murder here, but there is an overiew of these murders at the No Parole Peltier Association, and at AIM Myth Busters. The official FBI summary of the RESMURS (Reservation murders) is posted on the Minneapolis FBI site.

A career criminal named Leonard Peltier was convicted of aiding and abetting the murders.

The anniversary of this day is remembered here by John Trimbach, the son of FBI Special Agent Joseph Trimbach [See Trimbachs' Press Room Page]:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Contact: James Simon at

News Alert: 10 Reasons Why Leonard Peltier Should Never Be Freed

June 26, 2009 - Every year in June, Leonard Peltier supporters and ranters unite in calling for his release from the confines of the federal penitentiary. Even those who say he may be guilty argue that Peltier should be freed for "humanitarian" reasons because he'll soon be 65-years-old. For the record, Peltier objects to serving two consecutive life sentences for the execution-style murders of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams on June 26, 1975. Peltier has always claimed the truth of his innocence has never had a chance to blossom. While truth, no doubt, plays a reassuring role in the quest for justice, it is not something that has been a friend to the infamous Native American cause célèbre. The truth is particularly harmful to Peltier this year because he comes up for a parole board hearing on July 28, his first since 1993. Some say this is his last chance to bamboozle the board.

Though Peltier is loath to admit it, the truth has never failed to surface; first during his trial, and ever since, through old secrets revealed. And the evidence has always beaten a path to Peltier's cell door, most often by way of his own flawed thinking. Peltier thought the Agents were there to arrest him (they weren't), that he was justified in shooting two men in the face at point-blank range (he wasn't), and that he can now lie his way to freedom before a parole board (he can't.) But because Peltier says he didn't do it, his followers simply believe him. Not only do they believe him, they issue astounding proclamations in support of his innocence, his make-belief persona as "political prisoner," and his "human rights activist" nonsense. As one blogger recently swore, "Leonard Peltier is not in prison for killing the two Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Agents as is alleged, he has been incarcerated for 33 years because he belonged to a group (American Indian Movement) that dared to challenge the federal government and their lies. When one has the audacity to challenge the fedgov, he/she becomes a target for malicious prosecution, fabricated evidence, witness tampering and illegal imprisonment. Leonard Peltier has experienced all of these in the extreme. "

"Extreme" is certainly a word Peltier pushers are familiar with. "Extreme," as in not allowing the facts to get in the way of regurgitating fables and falsehoods. "Extreme," as in ignoring the Federal Register, the Federal Record, and the court testimony, all of which place Peltier at the scene of the crime, at the moment the killing shots were fired. And so in the spirit of Coler and Williams, here are ten truthful reasons why Peltier should never see the light of day as a free man:

1. Peltier was fairly tried and fairly convicted. This is the conclusion of every federal judge who has reviewed the case. Since his conviction in 1977, the evidence against Peltier has been repeatedly confirmed, expanded, and corroborated. [See: (Note FN 15: "The two witnesses testified outside the presence of the jury that after their testimony at trial, they had been threatened by Peltier himself that if they did not return to court and testify that their earlier testimony had been induced by F.B.I. threats, their lives would be in danger")]

2. Facts of the case prove that Peltier opened fire on the Agents from a distance of over 200 yards. Armed with only their side arms, both young men were soon wounded. After the initial shooting ended, Peltier, along with two other men, walked down to the wounded Agents and finished them off, shooting them both in the face at point-blank range.

3. A few months after the murders, Peltier bragged about killing Agent Ron Williams, as recalled by a witness in a separate murder trial in 2004. Under oath, the witness recalled Peltier's exact words: "The motherfu—er was begging for his life but I shot him anyway." (See here.)

4. Peltier has parlayed his Native American ancestry into a successful defense fund, bilking millions of people out of their time and money. He has fooled Amnesty International, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Dali Lama, and people all over the world. Peltier is supported by Hollywood heavyweights Robert Redford, David Geffen, and Oliver Stone, all of whom have fallen prey to his propaganda machine. Redford produced and narrated a documentary that uses Peltier's own concoctions to explain away his guilt, such as the Mr. X alibi, later exposed as another Peltier ruse.

5. Freeing an unrepentant murderer like Peltier is contrary to all principles of parole and rehabilitation. It would undermine law enforcement efforts, subvert the rule of law, and compound the anguish of the victims' families. Freeing a killer like Peltier would be particularly devastating to FBI Agents who risk their lives every day in pursuit of criminals. A pardon would also be detrimental to American interests by giving ammunition to our enemies. They will point to our system of justice as one that convicts innocent Native Americans, thus confirming their argument that Peltier was wrongfully convicted and that our court system is unfair. Worldwide media will parrot these conclusions as if they are fact-based.

6. Freeing a guilty killer like Peltier would undermine efforts to investigate crimes on Indian reservations. Many Indians would view his freedom as a sign that the FBI and the Justice Department had always tried to mislead Indian Country about the facts of the case. Many Indians would be more reluctant to cooperate with current investigations.

7. Peltier escaped from prison in July 1979 during which a young Indian was shot and killed. Peltier claimed he was targeted by the FBI for assassination. The truth is that he had planned his escape for several years, and counted on help from outside contacts. Peltier must be held responsible for the needless death he caused and for threatening a man from whom he stole a truck during his escape. Peltier was sentenced to seven additional years for his escape attempt.

8. If Peltier is freed, it will be more difficult to indict him on other murders in which he may have been involved. In one of these cases, Peltier interrogated a young woman, Anna Mae Aquash, by putting a loaded gun in her mouth. Aquash's execution was ordered by leaders of the American Indian Movement (AIM) because they mistakenly believed that she was an FBI informan (See

9. Contrary to his claims, Peltier has always put himself above the welfare of Native Americans. One of his recent newsletters opened with the words, "May Death Be Upon You, FBI" These are not the thoughts of an innocent man, but rather the wish of someone wanting to stir up violence. Peltier would like nothing better than to agitate for criminal acts against Indians who oppose his freedom and who count on the FBI to apprehend evildoers on the reservation. Peltier has nothing but contempt for our system of justice. He has done nothing to earn his freedom.

10. Peltier's 1993 Parole Board recognized that he was convicted of aiding and abetting the murders. But then the Board went on to say: "... the greater probability is that you yourself fired the fatal shots... It would be unjust to treat the slaying of these F.B.I. agents, while they lay wounded and helpless, as if your actions had been part of a gun battle. Neither the state of relations between Native American militants and law enforcement at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation prior to June 26, 1975, nor the exchanges of gunfire between individuals at the Jumping Bull Compound and the law enforcement agents who arrived there during the hours after Agents Coler and Williams were murdered, explains or mitigates the crimes you committed... Your release on parole would promote disrespect for the law in contravention of 18 U.S.C..."

Leonard Peltier is guilty. He has done nothing to show that he accepts responsibility for his crimes. To this day, Peltier remains defiant, manipulative, and completely remorseless. Freeing this ruthless killer would be a terrible travesty of justice.

John M. Trimbach
Trimbach & Associates, Inc.


Blogger Jeff said...

Unfortunately the good died (rar too) young and this scum perltier lives on to torment families of those fine men and foment ill will among the ignorant and those (who are) easily deceived.

Many Americans have "Indian" blood flowing in our viens...woe to those who would unwittingly assist a "poser" like shames us all.

May God (soon) deliver peltier to his final judgemnet...for he is obviously an unrepentant individual.

Moreover...may God bless the families of Jack Coler and Ron Williams and all those of fine FBI SAs living and past. Amen.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Snapple said...

Thanks for your comment. I agree.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a short comment to say that I was one of Jack Coler's training officers when he was an LAPD rookie back in the late 60s. We were both working out of the old 77th Street station at 77th and Broadway in South Central L.A., and my recollection of Jack was that he was a stand-up guy who had a great career ahead of him had he stayed with LAPD but, alas, he chose to quite shortly after we worked together and he joined the FBI. I can recall a little about almost everyone I have ever worked with, and in Jack'c case it was his issued badge number: it was 500! How he got that number I will never know because I had 4358, so it must have been a re-issue, but during our sort time together he wore it well and proud. RIP buddy, you were a damn good partner!

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was privileged to know and work with both Jack Coler and Ron Williams. Jack and I were in training school at the FBI Academy. He was an humble, quiet natured individual who shot the only "Possible" on the pistol firing range (PPC). I knew Ron while assigned to the Sioux Falls RA. Again, a good and competent man. Both Jack and Ron were outstanding law enforcement officers and I still mourn their passing after all these years.

Former Special Agent

1:57 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

even the government has admitted they have no idea whether he killed the agents or not.He was not part of the three at all. They went after him. The Canadian government is still suing the United States for filing false affidavits, which were responsible for his extradition. So they brought him down. They tried him. They made it look like an iron, bullet-proof case against him, and they imprisoned him.
LIES LIES LIES looking to blame someone, all politicalAt his appeal, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, a fellow named Judge Heaney wrote this list of 10 egregious errors in the trial, but said, "My hands are tied. I have to find him guilty." But he personally wrote to President Clinton asking for clemency for Leonard and said the FBI was culpable in this case, said—HE IS INNOCENT crooked FBI !!

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off I’d like to also honor the lives of agents Coler and Williams. I’d also like to honor the life of Joseph Stunts who was also shot and killed that day. We don’t hear about him and that disregard for him compared to the 5 star manhunt launched on behalf of the agents speaks loudly about the value placed on Indigenous lives vs white lives in our society. I would also like to honor the other 50 American Indian lives lost on Pine Ridge in the 2 years leading up to June 26 1975 and finally the massacre of 300 Indigenous men women and children at Wounded Knee that set the tone for all of this. This clearly is not as cut and dry as the 10 points listed, all of which can be duly countered by the heavy research I have been doing on this case. I do like the fact you have included point #4. To call people like Nelson Mandela and the Dali Lama fools is shocking to say the least. The list of people and organizations you named are not easily fooled followers, they are highly intelligent world leaders. I understand the side you are on and I respect that, however your wording is hateful, sharp and leading. The followers who eat everything the internet feeds are going to jump on board and amen your contempt. The ones who take the time to deeply research and understand for themselves are demonstrating true intelligence. That’s the difference between a leader and a follower. Leonard is a political prisoner and yes, likely has some ill will towards the system.
If you want to truly honor the men then do that, without the hate list. No ones healing should ever be placed on years served by someone else. It’s work that needs to be done on an individual level.

12:22 PM  

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