Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jim Wilkins, the FBI Agent Who Recaptured the Murderer Leonard Peltier, Dies

"Wilkins was the agent who recaptured American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who was serving two life sentences for the [June 26] 1975 murder of two FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota when he escaped from a California prison in 1979."---Star-Telegram (4-20-09)

The FBI agent who arrested the unrepentant murderer Leonard Peltier after he escaped from prison died on Friday, July 17, 2009. Next Tuesday, on July 28, 2009, Peltier, a vicious criminal who has never shown any remorse, will have a full parole hearing.

The Star-Telegram (4-20-09) reports:

Jim Wilkins’ 34-year FBI career included an important but little-known footnote in America criminal history.

Wilkins was the agent who recaptured American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who was serving two life sentences for the [June 26] 1975 murder of two FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota when he escaped from a California prison in 1979.

Peltier fled to the Santa Maria hills. But his run from the law ended after four days, when Wilkins spotted Peltier’s white tennis shoes in the brush and took him into custody.

Wilkins, a 1966 Grapevine High School graduate, worked for the FBI throughout California and in his native Texas. After his retirement in 2000, he became Marshall police chief, where he retired, again, in 2008.

...

Wilkins’ role in recapturing Peltier was recounted in American Indian Mafia: An FBI Agent’s True Story About Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM). [My link.]

The book by Joseph H. and John M. Trimbach explores misconceptions about what happened between American Indians and the FBI during 1970s confrontations at Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee.

"Jim was instrumental in helping us correct the historical record," John Trimbach said Monday in an interview. He added that although Wilkins was rarely mentioned by name, his recapture of Peltier is often at the center of conspiracy theories involving the FBI secretly wishing that Peltier would escape from prison so that he could be killed.

Mr. Wilkins was interviewed for the book while still Marshall police chief, Trimbach said.

"Jim told us we were the first people who came along and asked what really happened," Trimbach said...[See full text.]

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