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Patton arrested in Aquash slaying

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - John Graham (Patton) who was indicted in the 1975 death of Anna Mae Aquash, was arrested in Canada.

Patrick Charette, a spokesman for Canada's Department of Justice, said Patton was jailed in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he was arrested.

U.S. Attorney James McMahon of South Dakota confirmed the arrest.

Graham is from Canada and has been on the run since he was indicted earlier this year.

He and Arlo Looking Cloud are charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Aquash on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

"He has been arrested on what we call a provisional arrest, on behalf of the Americans," Charette said.

The United States now has 60 days to file an extradition request and supporting documents. After that, Canada has 30 days to determine if the matter should be sent to a Canadian court, Charette said. If the case will proceed, it will go to an extradition judge and be argued in court.

This process of extraditing Graham could take time, McMahon said.

"It's going to be awhile before that's taken care of," he reported to the Associated Press. "We'll go forward with Arlo's trial as scheduled."

Looking Cloud and Patton were indicted by a federal grand jury. It was the fourth grand jury assembled to review evidence and hear testimony into the death of Aquash. Her frozen body was found alongside a road on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

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Speculation among the AIM community is that Canada will be very cautious about evidence in the extradition case for Patton. Canada extradited Leonard Peltier on perjured testimony from Myrtle Poor Bear.

Many people, whether directly or indirectly involved with the American Indian Movement at the time of turmoil said federal authorities knew who the people were that either removed or escorted Aquash from a home in Denver, yet it took four grand juries and nearly 30 years to come up with indictments.

In the AP report, Catherine Martin, a spokeswoman for Aquash's two daughters, said the family is relieved but cautious. "They have a great amount of relief today," Martin said. "It's another hoop. But it's a big one."

Graham has denied any involvement publicly in a 2000 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. show "The Fifth Estate" Graham emphasized, "I wasn't there, and I didn't witness it. And that's all I can say about that".

Graham has said he was with Aquash when she left Denver although he said she was not kidnapped.

"That's all I'm going to say on that. If other people want to put themselves there, let them put themselves there," he stated in the CBC interview.

Aquash was taken from a home in Denver just prior to her murder and many people argue that she was kidnapped by three people; Patton, Looking Cloud and Theda Nelson Clark. However, Lynn Yellow Wood, who was said to have kidnapped Aquash, said she left of her own accord.

Aquash was deeply involved with AIM at the time of the occupation of Wounded Knee and during the turmoil in 1975. She was rumored to be an informant for the FBI, yet had turned in an informant, Doug Durham, who was trusted enough to become head of AIM security. He worked as an informant for the federal authorities.

There is still controversy over the death certificate and coroner's report that claimed she had died of exposure. Her body was buried in a Jane Doe grave, removed, and a second autopsy was performed, which stated she died from a gunshot wound.

Looking Cloud, an Oglala Lakota, was arrested last March in Denver, where he was living homeless at the time. His trial, after a delay will be held in Rapid City, S.D. in February 2004.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.