BISMARCK, N.D. — American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned since 1977 for the deaths of two FBI agents, has been denied parole after authorities decided that releasing him would diminish the seriousness of his crime, the Associated Press reported in mid-afternoon on Aug. 21.
Peltier had his first parole hearing in 16 years in July. He will not be eligible for parole again until July 2024, when he will be 79 years old.
U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley announced the decision of the U.S. Parole Commission.
Peltier is serving two life sentences for the deaths of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams during a June 26, 1975, shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was convicted in Fargo, N.D., in 1977.
He has said the FBI framed him, which the agency denies. He has been denied parole numerous times.
Thomas J. Harrington, Executive Assistant Director, FBI Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, issued the following statement:
“The FBI family has never forgotten the ultimate sacrifice made by FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, and we fully support the decision of the United States Parole Commission to deny parole to Leonard Peltier. His callous criminal acts demonstrated a complete disrespect for human life and for the law. His time served in jail for their 1975 murders has not diminished the brutality of his crimes or the pain and sorrow felt by the families of his victims or the FBI family.”