FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06 December 2010
Contact: Delaney Bruce, Legal Team Liaison, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106, USA; Telephone: 1-701-235-2206; firstname.lastname@example.org
Peltier court record doesn't lie: "We don't know who shot those agents."
In three recent cases unrelated to the shooting deaths of two FBI agents in 1975, Darlene "Kamook" Ecoffey has claimed that she once heard Leonard Peltier say he shot the agents. Peltier denies the accusation and maintains his innocence. Wrongfully convicted, Peltier has been imprisoned for 35 years, currently at a federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
"The lynchpin of the prosecution's case, the AR-15 rifle that caused the agents' fatal injuries, was found to be incompatible with the bullet casing found at the scene. That means Peltier wasn't the shooter. It also means the government manufactured a 'murder weapon,'" said a spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee.
Ecoffey's critics note that her uncorroborated testimony conveniently matches exactly the prosecutorial theory presented at Peltier's 1977 trial.
Research shows that the human mind is not like a tape recorder; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound.
Ecoffey, a resident of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, was paid over $40,000 for her testimony by the FBI. The average annual income on the reservation is roughly $5,000.
Over the years, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice has been critical of the FBI's handling of informants and, in the notorious Deegan murder case, Congress found that the FBI tolerated and perhaps encouraged false testimony and protected informants from prosecution. The FBI had adopted an "ends justifies the means" approach to law enforcement. Four of the six defendants were innocent and the FBI knew it. Two of those men died in prison. The other two men spent over 30 years in prison. The FBI also ensured that the men would not obtain post-conviction relief and would die in prison.
"For 35 years, the FBI has presented false testimony about Leonard Peltier. It began with Myrtle Poor Bear. FBI agents terrorized Poor Bear until she produced not one but three false affidavits that were used to extradite Peltier from Canada to the United States."
Peltier supporters say a 'confession' is an all too familiar government ploy.
"The government produced a witness to claim that Peltier's co-defendant Robert Robideau 'confessed' to him in jail. The problem with his testimony was that he and Robideau had been jailed a thousand miles apart. Another witness also testified to hearing a 'confession'—a claim disproved by his landlady who testified that the witness made up his story to get out of trouble with the law."
Robert Robideau and another co-defendant were acquitted by reason of self-defense.
"Peltier's actions in 1975 were no different than those of his co-defendants. Twice, before the appellate court, Prosecutor Lynn Crooks stated, 'We don't know who shot those agents.' The government has admitted that it 'did not and cannot prove' Peltier’s guilt or what role he 'may have played' in the 1975 incident. The FBI's intention is clear. With Ecoffey's help, the government hopes to re-write history."
US Versus Leonard Peltier: Evidence of a Wrongful Conviction. From the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: