Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Former FBI Agent in Charge Joe Trimbach: "Justice for Anna Mae Might Finally Become a Reality"

Murdered American Indian Movement (AIM) Activist, Anna Pictou Mae Aquash (1945-75)

On September 10, 2009, Attorney General Marty Jackley announced the indictment of American Indian Movement (AIM) activists John Graham and Thelma Rios, both of Rapid City, South Dakota, for the December 1975 murder of another AIM activist, the Canadian Indian Anna Mae Aquash.

An indictment in the case of the Canadian Indian John Graham had been expected. Graham had been previously charged, along with the American Indian Richard Marshal, by federal authorities; but two courts ruled that the federal government lacked jurisdiction in Graham's case because he and Aquash were not American Indians, so Graham's case was turned over to the state of South Dakota.

Richard Marshall, the former bodyguard of the buffoonish AIMster-turned-actor Russell Means, will stand trial separately in federal court. Marshall is accused of providing Graham with the gun that was used to kill Aquash. Russell Means's former bodyguard is a previously convicted killer who served time for the murder of Martin Montileaux in the men's room of a Scenic, South Dakota, bar.

According to News from Indian Country journalist Paul DeMain:

Marshall was convicted in the March 1, 1975 shooting of Martin Montileaux and later confessed to the act in order to obtain parole for life. Montileaux was shot in the back of the head, at the base of the skull by one bullet while standing in a bathroom stall of the Longhorn Bar in Scenic, South Dakota. Russell Means was on the other side of Montileaux when he was shot.

The arrest of American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Thelma Rios for the December 1975 murder of Anna Mae Aquash, is a new and significant development because it may lead to murder charges against leaders of the American Indian Movement and their lawyers, according to former FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph H. Trimbach. Rios's boyfriend in 1975, Bruce Ellison, "is a named co-conspirator" as well as "a lawyer for the Wounded Knee Legal Defense Offense Committee (WKLDOC), a group that defended AIM leaders in court," Joseph Trimbach observes in a 9-16-09 press release. Ellison may have been part of a criminal conspiracy, not just the criminals' lawyers.

Joseph and John Trimbach learned:

Some of WKLDOC's more revealing artifacts are hard to find. [Indian journalist] Paul DeMain has noted that WKLDOC meeting notes, phone records, and other documents (To Do lists?) from around November, 1975 to around February, 1976---coinciding with Anna Mae's disappearance---have themselves disappeared (American Indian Mafia, page 595/footnote 75).

"I think all of this will lead to more indictments. It's long overdue, but justice for Anna Mae might finally become a reality," says Trimbach.

John M. Trimbach of Trimbach & Associates, Inc. has issued the press release that follows. In order to help interested researchers, I am adding links to my posting of this press release that are not on the original press release.

John M. Trimbach is the son of Joseph H. Trimbach, the former Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis FBI. Joseph and John Trimbach co-authored American Indian Mafia: An FBI Agent's True Story About Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM). This book has received accolades from law enforcement and Indian leaders. It is available as a paperback or as an inexpensive, searchable e-book.

John M. Trimbach's 9-16-09 press release follows:

News Alert: Former FBI Chief Heralds American Indian Movement Indictment

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Video Clip: Click to Watch [Filmed by Richard Two Elk]


Atlanta – A former FBI official has expressed approval for the recent indictment of a fourth person in connection with the 1975 execution-style murder of a 30-year-old woman. Thelma Rios-Conroy of Rapid City was indicted on one count of felony murder in relation to kidnapping and one count of premeditated murder for the death of American Indian Movement (AIM) member Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. Joseph H. Trimbach, the former FBI Special Agent in Charge for South Dakota from 1973 to 1975, said the indictment shows that prosecutors are moving closer to indictments against AIM leaders and their lawyers.

Aquash was dragged from the trunk of a car near the reservation town of Wanblee, South Dakota, and shot in the head in December 1975. The alleged triggerman, AIM member John Graham, will stand trial in state court although no date has been set. Graham's accomplice Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted in federal court of aiding and abetting the murder in 2004. Following a series of interrogations, AIM leaders falsely accused Aquash of being an FBI informant. One of her interrogators was convicted killer Leonard Peltier. At an AIM conference in June 1975, Peltier put a loaded gun in Aquash's mouth to administer "truth serum." The trail of evidence could lead to Peltier's former boss, AIM co-founder Dennis Banks.

Rios-Conroy was indicted in part because of a phone call she allegedly made saying that Aquash was found guilty of being an informant. The phone call led to the abduction, rape, and murder of Aquash after a final interrogation. Prosecutors believe Graham raped Aquash in Rios-Conroy's Rapid City apartment. Rios-Conroy's former boyfriend, Bruce Ellison, is a named co-conspirator. Ellison was a lawyer for the Wounded Knee Legal Defense Offense Committee (WKLDOC), a group that defended AIM leaders in court. Ellison allegedly questioned Aquash as she sat tied to a chair in his Rapid City WKLDOC office.

In 2001, Ellison testified before a UN Human Rights Commission and called for an investigation of the FBI for what he claimed were 60 "uninvestigated" reservation killings. One of the cases he cited was the Aquash murder. AIM leaders and lawyers have accused the FBI of backing a tribal "goon squad" that murdered AIM members and supporters. Many of these deaths, however, have since been exposed as having been instigated and committed by AIM members or were the result of deaths not attributed to inter-tribal violence. One of the dead, Michelle Tobacco, was a nine-month old victim of child abuse. Several of the deaths were found to be alcohol-related.

Trimbach's book, American Indian Mafia, implicates another WKLDOC lawyer, Kenneth Tilsen, in the Aquash murder. Tilsen took possession of Aquash's wallet near the time of her death but says he cannot remember details from that period. Trimbach's book includes a letter Tilsen mailed to Aquash's relatives in which he writes that the wallet came to him "through a circuitous route." According to Paul DeMain, editor of News from Indian Country, WKLDOC files from that period have been purged from public archival records. Another lawyer, Charles Abourezk, was closely associated with AIM leader Russell Means during the period when Means's relatives were allegedly plotting against Aquash. Abourezk and Means are rumored to have been in the Wanblee area the night of the murder. Means's former bodyguard, Richard Marshall, awaits trial in federal court. Marshall, an ex-convict for murder in a separate case, stands accused of providing the weapon and bullets Graham allegedly used to execute Aquash.

The Rios-Conroy indictment indicates that prosecutors have established a stronger link between Aquash's final hours and her encounters with Ellison and several AIM members. Says Trimbach, "I think all of this will lead to more indictments. It's long overdue, but justice for Anna Mae might finally become a reality."

John M. Trimbach
Trimbach & Associates, Inc.

First Url: AIM Myth Busters

Book Title: American Indian Mafia

[See contact information here]


Blogger jgm said...

One thing I'm not clear on is the rape charges. Who raped her, and when?

8:39 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

Scroll down to my post "And Then There Were Four."

Read the article and the links.

There is a link to Jackley's press release and also to some news articles. Carson Walker of the AP who always writes on Aquash says:

Prosecutors say Graham and two other AIM members - Arlo Looking Cloud and Theda Clarke - drove Aquash from Denver to Rapid City, where she was held against her will and questioned about whether she was an informant. Prosecutors have said she was not working with the government.

"They [prosecutors] say Graham raped Aquash at Rios' apartment, and that he later fatally shot her near Wanblee, 86 miles east of Rapid City."

Jackley's press release says that Graham is charged with rape. It allegedly happened while she was held at Rios's house.

What I wonder is who is "Red." Candy Hamilton who testified at the Looking Cloud trial about the roll of "Red."

[Churchill cites Candy Hamilton as his source for his claim in the CAIB that FBI-backed death squads killed 342 Indians.]

9:18 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

Here is the language of Jackley's press release: "felony murder in relation to rape." I assume this means Graham raped her. That's what the papers are assuming.


The South Dakota Attorney General's press office (9-10-09) states:

John Graham and Thelma Rios Indicted on Murder Charges

PIERRE, S.D.-Attorney General Marty Jackley announced that John Graham, 54, Rapid City and Thelma Rios, 64, Rapid City, have been indicted today by a Pennington County Grand Jury. Graham was indicted on one count of felony murder in relation to kidnapping, one count of felony murder in relation to rape and one count of premeditated murder. Rios was indicted on one count of felony murder in relation to kidnapping and one count of premeditated murder. The indictment charges that Graham and Rios murdered Anna Mae Aquash on or about December
10-12, 1975.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

J Trimbach's press release states:

"Prosecutors believe Graham raped Aquash in Rios-Conroy's Rapid City apartment."

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when does the FBI care about rape or murder? SA David Price, a central figure to this mess, continued to perform dirty deeds and cover for others while in Minnesota. One need look no further than the shenanigans of his pal Jon Juenger when he and Price were working to protect a criminal enterprise while exacting revenge for someone who did not want to accept responsibility for his actions and the outcomes. Price has made a joke of "justice". What the man does in the shadows and what he pretends to be in the daylight are two very different things. i

1:45 AM  
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10:44 AM  

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