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John Graham to stand trial in 30-year-old murder

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - John Graham, one of two men accused of the murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, Mi'kmaq, in 1975, lost his fight against extradition to the United States to face charges of first-degree murder.

The Canadian Supreme Court declined to hear Graham's final appeal for extradition. He had been ordered extradited in 2005 and, because of appeals through the Canadian court system, the extradition was stayed until now. He was incarcerated in June 2007 after an earlier appeal failed.

Greg DelBigio, Graham's Canadian attorney, said Graham was taken from a Canadian jail at 10 a.m. PST Dec. 6, and then taken into custody by U.S. authorities at the Canadian border. He was taken to Rapid City, S.D., by the U.S. Marshals Service, where he will face trial proceedings.

On Dec. 7, Graham appeared at a preliminary hearing in Rapid City magistrate court to plead not guilty to the charges. Graham was ordered to be held in Pennington County Jail by Magistrate Veronica Duffy because, U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley said, he was a flight risk. No trial date has been set.

Graham, a Yukon Native, and Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud, Oglala Lakota, were indicted for murder in 2001.

Looking Cloud was convicted in 2004 of first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

Witnesses at Looking Cloud's trial said they heard him admit that Graham pulled the trigger that killed Pictou Aquash. Looking Cloud has since recanted that story, and Graham has always maintained his innocence.

Pictou Aquash joined the American Indian Movement and was present during the Wounded Knee takeover in 1973 and later in 1975 during the standoff with federal and tribal authorities near the town of Oglala, on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The two men are accused of murdering and disposing of Pictou Aquash's body in the Badlands of South Dakota on the northern reaches of the Pine Ridge Reservation in late 1975. Her body was not found until February 1976.

Pictou Aquash was allegedly an informant for federal authorities, which was given as a reason for her murder.

Both men were members of AIM and were present on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the 1970s.