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Leonard Peltier
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Native American Icon
    (September 12, 1944- )
    Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota
    Member of the American Indian Movement (AIM)
    Convicted (1977) of the murder of two FBI agents, Ron Williams and Jack Coler, at the Pine Ridge Reservation (June 26, 1975)
    Subject of the documentary 'Incident at Ogala' (1991)
    He attracted even more celebrity supporters than Mumia Abu-Jamal.
    Agent Coler was killed execution-style with two shots to the head.
    Former AIM members Darlene Nichols and Bernie Nichols-Lafferty testified (at a different trial) that Peltier said, 'The motherfucker was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway.'
    He appealed his sentence on several occasions without success.
    Rumors that Bill Clinton would grant him clemency led to a protest outside the White House by 500 FBI agents and their families.
    Three witnesses who said that they saw Peltier approach the slain agents' vehicle later said the FBI had threatened them to coerce their testimony.
    AIM members Bob Robideau and Dino Butler, charged in the same murders but tried separately, were found not guilty on self-defense grounds.
    Federal Appeals Court Judge Gerald Heaney wrote, 'The United States government must share the responsibility with the Native Americans for the June 26 firefight.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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