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Leonard Peltier Trial: 1977

"it Was The Agents …"

Another youth on the stand, prosecution witness Norman Brown, was reminded by prosecutor Evan Hultman that he had told the grand jury he had seen Peltier and the other three men near the death scene. "Are you trying to tell me I saw them down there?" he responded. "It was the agents who said I saw them." The reply was so confident that the defense welcomed it.

Prosecution witness Angie Long Visitor told the court she heard shots and saw the red-and-white van that she knew Peltier drove. It was parked near junked cars from which, according to both Anderson and Brown, Peltier and others had fired.

FBI Special Agent Frederick Coward testified that, with his rifle's telescopic sight, he saw Peltier running through the haze from the crime scene. The defense produced an expert on telescopic sights who said that, using the same sight at the same distance on a bright day, he would not be able to recognize someone he knew even facing him and standing still. Judge Paul Benson refused a defense request that he and the jury both test the sight.

Ballistics reports introduced by the prosecutors described a. 223 shell casing, presumably ejected from the killer's gun into the trunk of agent Coler's car, but could not link the shell precisely to one of the several AR-15 rifles used by both police and Indians in the shootout.

Two Royal Canadian Mounted Policemen who had arrested Peltier after he fled across the border concluded the prosecution testimony. One said the defendant told him he would have opened fire if he had seen them coming. The other said he asked Peltier if he killed the agents at Oglala and Peltier replied, "No, but I know who did."

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Leonard Peltier Trial: 1977 - Arrest, Escape, Extradition, "it Was The Agents …", Myrtle Poor Bear Irrelevant, Appeals Denied