Thursday, January 20, 2022


Edward Woods

January 20, 2022


President Joe Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Washington, D.C. 20500


Hon. Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General

Hon. Rosalind Sargent-Burns, U.S. Pardon Attorney             

                                                                                           Leonard Peltier 

                                                                                           Federal Inmate #89637-132

                                                                                           Clemency Denial Request


                James H. Reynolds

             Former U.S. Attorney


Re: Leonard Peltier


Dear President Biden, Hon. Garland, Hon. Sargent-Burns:


As I have previously requested, I would continue to urge that should Leonard Peltier’s clemency petition reach your desk, that he not be considered for a commuted sentence. 


Any consideration should be the result of a thorough review of his conviction and the nearly three decades of multiple appeals that have clearly established Leonard Peltier’s guilt. Each and every claim of a wrongful conviction, both arguably legitimate and seemingly frivolous, have been addressed in great detail by the appellate courts. One of many appellate court findings concluded, “Previous federal court decisions provided the (parole) Commission with ample facts to support its conviction that Peltier personally shot Agents Coler and Williams.” “Neither the conviction nor any of the subsequent court decisions have been overturned.” 

(10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11/4/2003)


The unprovoked attack on FBI Agents Coler and Williams resulted in them both being wounded, Jack Coler nearly fatally, and Ron Williams, wounded three times, removing his shirt and waving it as a flag of surrender (that was ignored) and then using it on Agent Coler’s severely injured arm. Jack Coler was likely unconscious but Ron Williams was not. He faced his killer as the barrel of Peltier’s AR-15 was placed against an upraised hand, blowing Agent Williams’s fingers through the back of his head. Agent Coler was then shot twice. Both Agents, with destroyed faces, were manhandled and rolled over to face the ground as their weapons were stolen by Peltier and others.* A horrible scene and terrible death in the line of duty.


These will provide just a hint of what Agents’ Coler and Williams faced that fateful day before they were murdered:



Peltier, through a number of public statements, remains unrepentant, including his 1999 ‘apology’ to his victims’ families that amounted to no more than further insult and ended with, “I cannot see how my being here, torn from my own grandchildren, can possibly mend your loss. I swear to you, I am guilty only of being an Indian. That’s why I’m here. Being who I am, being who you are—that’s Aboriginal sin.” (Multiple court findings tell an entirely different story.) 


Following the clemency process, I am certain FBI Director Wray will provide additional details.


There is no doubt that Native Americans were horribly treated, but releasing Peltier will never correct the wrongs of the past. His crimes that June day on Pine Ridge were, and remain, an entirely criminal act for which he was rightfully convicted and sentenced.  Leonard Peltier would be the last person to atone for those historical wrongs and should be shown the same degree of mercy he gave to Agents’ Coler and Williams; and that would be none.   


Re: James H. Reynolds


It may be somewhat irregular to openly criticize a former U.S. Attorney, however, the statements Mr. Reynolds has made in writing, during an interview, and the authority he has allegedly assumed in the Peltier matter, can neither be ignored nor sustained under scrutiny. 


Within Peltier’s clemency petition file there should be two letters, one undated but addressed to former President Obama and one dated July 9, 2021, both setting forth reasons considering clemency for Leonard Peltier. (The letters are attached for reference.)


Mr. Reynold’s earlier letter claimed, as the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, that he retained as Assistant U.S. Attorney, Evan Hultman, who preceded him as U.S. Attorney and who had handled the prosecution of Leonard Peltier, and “I directed Hultman’s handling of the appeal of Leonard Peltier after my appoint (sic).” 


(Assistant U.S. Attorney, Lynn E. Crooks, was intimately involved with the prosecution and appeals of Leonard Peltier.)


Statement of Lynn E. Crooks, retired Assistant United States Attorney, North Dakota:


This claim is a gross misstatement of the record. The trial record being in Fargo, ND it was only logical that I be given primary responsibility for assigning and coordinating research projects with other members of the trial team and then preparing the first drafts of the Government’s responses to the murderer’s arguments. In doing so I had numerous conversations with Mr. Hultman and all other members of the trial team, as well as my own United States Attorney. Other than small stylish changes there were no substantial changes that I can recall being made to the agreed upon drafts which were prepared in this fashion. I had no conversations of any kind with Mr. Reynolds. To the best of my knowledge, he contributed nothing what-so-ever to what went into the final brief on Direct Appeal or into any of the subsequent government briefs resisting Peltier’s numerous attempts to obtain Post Conviction Relief.” (Emphasis added)


In Mr. Reynolds 2021 letter he states:


Finally, on appealwe pursued the theory that Mr. Peltier was an “accomplice” under an aiding and abetting theory…”


Mr. Reynolds offers a factually erroneous statement, an incongruous and untimely ‘theory’ regarding Peltier’s charge of aiding and abetting: On November 17, 1975 Peltier was indicted for two counts of first-degree murder and aiding and abetting.  On November 25, 1975 at Rapid City, South Dakota, warrants were issued charging Peltier with murder – first degree, killing two Federal officers while in the performance of their duties and aiding and abetting (Title 18. U.S. Code, Sections 1111, 1114 and 2).  (Peltier trial; March-April 1977, Fargo, North Dakota)


Further, the Peltier trial transcript {4974} – {5164}, (clearly before the appellate process began), unmistakably indicates that there was considerable discussion between the defense and prosecution with USDCJ Benson regarding jury instructions on the aiding and abetting charge, as well as being included in the government’s closing argument.


For someone who claimed the authority that he (inappropriately using ‘we’) directed the appeals, how can he so blatantly distort the significance of the aiding and abetting issue? Mr. Reynolds’ claims are clear enough, however, his motivations to misstate the record are troubling and flawed.


Mr. Reynolds further states that “We were not able to prove that Mr. Peltier personally committed any offense on the Pine Ridge Reservation.”


For Mr. Reynolds to err in arriving at such an inexplicable conclusion would indicate that he either has never read, or nonetheless understood the multiple appeals that supported the government’s position that Peltier personally and cold-bloodedly murdered two already wounded FBI Agents, or, that Mr. Reynolds does understand the actual record and perhaps hopes his statements will be taken at face value as a former U.S. Attorney, and not further examined or validated. 


Mr. Reynolds missed or ignored any number of multiple definitive court findings that included:


The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…” “…Peltier’s contention of manufactured evidence are far from convincing.” 

(Direct Appeal, 8th Circuit, 9/14/78)


When all is said and done, however, a few simple but very important facts remain. The casing introduced into evidence had in fact been extracted from the Wichita AR-15. That point was not disputed; although the defense had its own ballistics expert, it offered no contrary evidence.” 

(8th Circuit, 9/11/86: Peltier’s AR-15 was recovered in Wichita, Kansas.)


Mr. President, Honorable Garland and Sargent-Burns, before Mr. Reynolds claims are considered regarding Peltier’s clemency petition, a thorough vetting of his alleged claims would certainly be in order.** 


As for Leonard Peltier, he remains an unrepentant murderer, and although he has spent many years in prison and has some underlying health issues due to age, Agent Jack Coler and Ron Williams, both twenty-eight when they were murdered, were robbed of their opportunity to grow old with their families rather than being left in a muddy field with their faces destroyed. 




Edw. Woods

Edward Woods


*During Peltier’s escape to Canada, he and other AIM members were stopped in Oregon. Under the seat where Peltier sat was found a paper bag that contained Agent Coler’s service revolver. On the bag was Leonard Peltier’s thumbprint.  

Also, contrary to Peltier’s several fabricated statements of how the shooting started, there is no dispute that there was an eyewitness to exactly how the unprovoked attack on the Agents began. Agent Williams was overheard on the FBI radio describing exactly what was about to happen.


**Not included above is an interview Mr. Reynolds gave to the NY Daily News that was wholly inappropriate and unprofessional, 

(last accessed 1/4/22).



Two Reynold’s letters

Brief facts of June 26, 1975



1-U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland

1-U.S. Pardon Attorney, Rosalind Sargent-Burns

1-Federal Bureau of Investigation, Director Christopher Wray

1-Hon. Louis J. Freeh

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

SA Jack R. Coler, 1947 - 1975, R.I.P.

Dear Jack:


Those of us who remain, your family, friends, FBI associates and law-enforcement across the country know that you are looking over us as another year passes.


Many of us believe that you are still the same strong, dedicated, committed and quintessential police officer, then FBI Agent, that you were in 1975.  It comforts us to keep that memory alive, especially those who knew you personally, that you are ageless and possess an omniscient awareness. You are no doubt proud to watch over your family and grandchildren.


Today is January 12, 2022, the day of those earthly times when you would have turned seventy-five. As you likely know there are rumors that some nameless individual may be under consideration to be released. His forty-five years is not nearly enough for what happened on Pine Ridge. No matter the outcome, you know we never stopped trying and assuredly will never forget. 


We are grateful to have a guardian angel, a brother in arms, as those in Blue face grave challenges from a growing segment of society that has little respect for those who willingly place themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve this great nation. A nation that today is facing internal strife and division and one self-induced crisis after another. 


As you undoubtedly know, you, Ron and all the FBI Service Martyrs are honored every year with a memorial service. We also pay tribute to those in Blue who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Line of Duty. 


Your legacy will never be forgotten.


Jack, please continue to watch over us and help protect those willing to serve.


“In the Spirit…



Saturday, January 1, 2022


January 1, 2022


To: National Law Enforcement Associations

From: Ed Woods, Founder, No Parole Peltier Association, Cincinnati, Ohio

Subject: Denying commutation for convicted murderer, LEONARD PELTIER


Dear Association Leadership:


We are writing national law enforcement associations and organizations to bring attention to the possibility that consideration may be underway to commute Leonard Peltier’s consecutive life sentences. Peltier was convicted  for the brutal cold-blooded killing of FBI Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. Regretfully, too many people, in and out of government, are not familiar with the facts, only the folklore.


Within the law enforcement community and brotherhood, we are all deeply affected when any of our own are killed in the Line of Duty, and certainly in circumstances when justice for their killers may be jeopardized.


We surely understand that the Constitutional authority to grant clemency, pardon or commutation on the federal level rests with one person, President Biden. The facts and details of Peltier’s criminal acts must be brought to the President’s attention to counter four decades of continuous fabrications, falsehoods and feigned innocence. 

The summary that follows can be verified through trial transcripts, appellate filings and decisions, primary sources and Peltier's own public statements: 


On June 26, 1975, FBI Agents Coler and Williams were performing their lawful duties on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation searching for a fugitive, Jimmy Eagle. In separate government sedans they followed a suspect vehicle from the main highway onto a dirt road leading to a farm. The vehicle stopped at a distance as did Coler and Williams, who were then exposed in an open field. The occupants of the vehicle, including Peltier, began an unprovoked attack with rifle fire on the pinned-down agents. Of critical importance, crucial because of Peltier’s many lies of how the shooting actually began, is that there was an eyewitness. Agent Williams was on the FBI radio describing exactly what was about to happen; trying to describe their location, that they were about to come under fire—the shooting started—and they heard Agent Williams say, “I’m hit.” FBI employees in the Rapid City office and other Agents heard Agent Williams’s transmission and that he also said if they didn’t get there soon, “We’ll be dead.” 


Peltier was joined by other American Indian Movement members, with rifles, trapping the Agents in a deadly crossfire. The initial shooting ended quickly as the government sedans were riddled with bullet holes. Agent Coler received what was probably a mortal wound and was likely unconscious. Agent Williams, wounded three times, removed his shirt, waved it as a sign of surrender and used it as a tourniquet on Agent Coler’s severely injured arm. 


Court testimony concluded, and the jury accepted, that Peltier approached the wounded Agents. Agent Williams faced his killer. Peltier placed the muzzle of his AR-15 against an upraised hand and blew Agent Williams’s fingers through the back of his head. Peltier then turned the weapon on Agent Coler, destroying his face with two more shots. 


Peltier and the others fled the Reservation. While making a getaway to Canada with other AIM members, Peltier described Agent Williams’s last moments. Sworn testimony in a later trial quoted Peltier, “The M…F…begged for his life, but I shot him anyway.” 


Peltier was later captured and convicted, receiving consecutive life sentences. Peltier had over a dozen appeals regarding the facts and his many unsupported and often frivolous allegations of a wrongful conviction. Among a multitude of court findings, one concluded, “Previous federal court decisions provided the (parole) Commission with ample facts to support its conviction that Peltier personally shot Agents Coler and Williams.” “Neither the conviction nor any of the subsequent court decisions have been overturned.”  (10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11/4/2003)



We are encouraging Law Enforcement Organizations to contact government representatives and officials, who support the police and law enforcement, to voice their opposition to any consideration by the President to commute Leonard Peltier’s sentence. The President must understand the sacred oath of those who carry a badge. They place themselves in harm’s way to protect the citizenry and enforce our Nation’s laws and in instances where those lives are taken in the Line-of-Duty, justice for their killers must continue.


Correspondence should also be directed to President Biden, the Attorney General and the U.S. DOJ Pardon Attorney. Addresses follow. 


Finally, there are those who mistakenly believe that freeing Peltier will in some perverse manner correct the historical wrongs of the past against Native Americans. This could be no further from reality. Peltier’s crimes were, and remain, violent unprovoked criminal acts. 


The unrepentant Peltier received a fair trial, validated by numerous appeals, and should continue serving his consecutive life sentences in addition to the seven consecutive years for an armed prison escape.


Peltier should be shown as much mercy as he gave to Jack Coler and Ron Williams; and that would be none. 



“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”


Edw. Woods

Edward Woods


Preliminary references: (2018) (2009; including 60 footnotes & Addendum)


-President Joe Biden, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20500

Hon. Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, USDIJ, 950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20530-0000

Hon. Rosalind Sargent-Burns, U.S. Pardon Attorney, 950 Pennsylvania Ave. – RFK, Main Justice Building, Washington, D.C. 20530




Friday, December 17, 2021


Dear Supporters:*


Peter Matthiessen dispels Peltier’s claims of the facts and innocence


For the moment set aside Peltier’s years of a tapestry of lies, falsehoods and fabrications, and focus on one significant primary source in the Peltier saga, Peter Matthiessen. 


Matthiessen casts his own serious doubts on Peltier’s feigned innocence and his shifting versions of what happened that June day at Pine Ridge. 


The late Peter Matthiessen was arguably the most ardent and influential Peltier supporter since FBI Agents Coler and Williams were brutally murdered. He had unfettered access to Peltier and all the American Indian Movement members as well as his undeniably detailed research along with a multitude of interviews on both sides. Matthiessen knew of a myriad of government details from Peltier’s trial, other AIM trials and Peltier’s many lengthy detailed and conclusively telling appeals.


Matthiessen compiled his extensive research into “The story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI’s war on the American Indian Movement” into a 646-page epic, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (ITSOCH). ITSOCH, although densely documented and well-written, is often infused with manipulated and slanted suppositions. For Peltier and his supporters, however, ITSOCH literally remains the bible and chronology of the events surrounding that infamous June day. To this very moment on his website, Peltier proclaims “Much of the information contained on this site is derived from ‘In the Spirit of Crazy Horse’ by the renowned author Peter Matthiessen. The book is the definitive work on the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Peltier case.” 


So, what does this really mean? 


Without question, Peltier, his committee and supporters must acknowledge and accept any and all doubts that Matthiessen expressed concerning Peltier’s version of what happened that day and frankly to Peltier’s obvious guilt:


White Flag of Surrender (Footnote 1)


One need ask why Matthiessen was prompted to include this in ITSOCH:


At some point not long after noon, the agent seen crawling through the car had passed out from shock and loss of blood, and his partner, less seriously wounded, had thrown his gun down and stripped off his white shirt. Perhaps he waved it as a white flag in sign of surrender, in any case he apparently attempted to rig it as a tourniquet on the shattered arm of the downed agent. (ITSOCH p.157, emphasis added)


From all the AIM members shooting at the agents pinned down in an open field Matthiessen was provided with considerable details, in essence all the dirty little facts and secrets that only those who were there, those who actually witnessed the unfolding tragedy could describe. These telling details were not part of the government’s prosecution of Peltier. Yet, Matthiessen dutifully embraced them.


Is it possible that Matthiessen simply made this up? 


Hardly, but perhaps Peltier would like to think so, however, doing that would undermine everything else Matthiessen has offered.


Someone told Matthiessen about the mortally wounded Agent Coler ‘crawling through the car,’ Agent Williams ‘had thrown down his gun’ and ‘stripped off his white shirt.’ There was absolutely no doubt that the “less wounded” (actually wounded three times), Ron Williams, did use his white shirt as a tourniquet on Jack Coler’s mangled arm. We know this, and other troubling details, from the crime scene photographs. 

(Fn. 2)  


How did Matthiessen come up with the premise that Agent Williams waved his shirt as a sign of surrender? Simple logic would indicate that the surviving Williams felt they were both in dire straits and the only option at that moment, to stop the attack and hopefully get medical aid, was to surrender. 


There were a number of witnesses that day, Peltier, Robideau, Butler and the others who all saw what remained after the initial shooting at the Agents stopped.


Matthiessen surely heard the same account from several, if not many sources from that day.


Matthiessen, being as thorough with his reporting as he was credited to be, likely felt a moral obligation, as he did in other instances, to report this very obvious and grave detail.


The Agents wanted to surrendered but Peltier and the others would have none of that.


I cannot find it


Over the years Peltier, aside from changing his version of the events, also offered any number of unprovable details: the Agents came roaring onto the Jumping Bull property shooting away; that this was the beginning of a planned para-military assault on the AIM camp along White Clay Creek; that there were dozens or hundreds of law enforcement surrounding the area, and as documented in writing and on film, the person they knew who was delivering dynamite to the camp that day, the phantom Mr. X, who first wounded and then killed the agents, driving off in the infamous red pickup. All provable lies. Peltier also claimed he didn’t shoot at the Agents, then admitted he fired in their direction, then again in an interview, that he did shoot at the Agents. 


Peltier’s lies are just that because there is one irrefutable fact that there was an eyewitness to exactly how the unprovoked attack began. Agent Williams, over the FBI radio, was trying to describe where they were, that they were about to come under fire, the shooing began and they heard him say “I’m hit.” 


But after all the research and fact-finding Matthiessen once again had to yield to a sense of conscience. Not only did he not buy the Mr. X fable from the beginning, he also could not contribute to Peltier’s versions of how the shooting began:


Matthiessen expressed doubt from the outset when he was first presented with the Mr. X story from Bob Robideau (Fn. 3). Late into ITSOCH Matthiessen provides us with this revelation:


…the agents pulled up in that vulnerable place down in the pasture because they heard a warning shot or came under fire; if there is another persuasive explanation of the location and position of their cars, I cannot find it. (p. 544)


Matthiessen offers some additional narrative with tedious speculation. He nevertheless, after all he had uncovered and learned could not escape the obvious truth, that Peltier’s versions of the event did not hold sway under honest scrutiny. Matthiessen knew all too well the words from one of the victims overheard by personnel in the Rapid City FBI office and those out on the Reservation. 


Almost Certainly


Matthiessen makes an appearance in the film Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier, and within a mere two minutes and thirty-seven seconds puts to rest any doubt (Fn. 4).


…the plight of a young man spending his life in 

prison for something he almost certainly did not do.


Almost Certainly? 


With the arrival of this film Matthiessen had been deeply involved in the Peltier narrative for fourteen years, promoting Peltier’s cause through his published tome as well as speaking openly in support.


Nevertheless, here is the very best he can offer; the strongest statement he could make in a filmed interview was a declaration about a crime that Peltier ‘almost certainly did not do.’


What was it that Matthiessen learned during these years that prevented him from proclaiming Peltier’s complete innocence? What collectively did Matthiessen uncover from Peltier and the others involved that prompted him to not firmly commit to Peltier’s innocence? Aside from mere speculations about what ifs, something prevented Matthiessen from standing inflexibly in Peltier’s corner while only offering speculation to the contrary. 


Perhaps, or let’s assume for the moment at least, that Matthiessen understood what really happened on June 26, 1975 and had enough conviction and conscience to allow a significant grain of truth to air his unquestioned and reasonable doubts. 


“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed Woods



1) White flag of surrender:

2) Just After Noon, June 26, 1975 This website would not include crime scene photographs; however, this is an artist’s rendition of what responding Agents found when they located the bodies of Special Agents Coler and Williams. Peltier was convicted of their murders by shooting them both in the face with the “Wichita AR-15.” Coler was likely unconscious but Williams was not and faced his killer as Peltier placed the muzzle of the weapon against a defensive hand, pulled the trigger, and blew his fingers through the back of his head. A horrible death and scene to anyone, excluding the cowards of Jumping Bull. Testimony at a later trial quoted Peltier saying that “The M..f.. begged for his life but I shot him anyway.” However, back to Matthiessen’s reporting; Agent Williams, shirtless, did fashion a torniquet on Agent Coler’s arm. Apart from Matthiessen’s brief description there is an obvious question to be answered. Both Agents were shot at point blank range in the face, yet their bodies were found rolled-over laying face-down. Which coward, or cowards among those present furthered the carnage by manhandling the mutilated bodies? Odds are, they all did.

3) ITSOCH p. 547: When Matthiessen was first told of the Mr. X story by Bob Robideau, this was his reaction to Robideau’s “lidded ex-con look that reveals noting.” “He gives the impression of bare honesty even when, to protect others, he is not telling the truth; that you suspect he may be lying does not bother him, since he knows that you know that he has no choice.” This is another instance where Matthiessen knows he is being lied to but continues nevertheless, thus at least, revealing serious doubts of the events and Peltier’s feigned innocence. 

4) Warrior; The Life of Leonard Peltier, 1992; (last accessed 11/26/21)


*This blog was sent as follow-up letters to President Biden and many others. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

PELTIER: Senator Leahy email

Leonard Peltier does not deserve clemency


Dear Senator Leahy:


This is in response to your support of clemency for convicted multiple murderer Leonard Peltier that appeared in a recent Huffpost article. Regretfully, the Huffpost article simply repeats many of the proven falsehoods surrounding Peltier’s conviction and ironically quotes James Reynolds whose claims regarding the Peltier matter have been completely discredited. 


Peltier’s conviction has received numerous judicial reviews addressing all the allegations of an alleged wrongful conviction. 


I would urge you to have a staff member carefully review Peltier’s appellate history, a history that would be too lengthy to repeat here, however just a few of many, follow. The court decisions are available at


The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…” “…Peltier’s contention of manufactured evidence are far from convincing.” 

(Direct Appeal, 8th Circuit, 9/14/78)


When all is said and done, however, a few simple but very important facts remain. The casing introduced into evidence had in fact been extracted from the Wichita AR-15. That point was not disputed; although the defense had its own ballistics expert, it offered no contrary evidence.” 

(8th Circuit, 9/11/86; Peltier’s AR-15 was recovered in Wichita, Kansas)


Previous federal court decisions provided the (parole) Commission with ample facts to support its conviction that Peltier personally shot Agents Coler and Williams.” “Neither the conviction nor any of the subsequent court decisions have been overturned.” (10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11/4/2003)


Senator Leahy, there are indeed many more significant and detailed references and conclusions by the courts – many more. 


If there was even one Constitutional violation in the Peltier matter, we would not be discussing it today.


Peltier’s crime was a heinous and brutal cold-blooded murder of two already severely wounded FBI Agents. There is absolutely no dispute concerning how the shooting at Pine Ridge started. Agent Williams was on the FBI radio telling those in the FBI Rapid City office and other Agents on the Reservation that they were about to come under fire, the shooting began, and they heard him say “I’m hit.” 


Agents’ Coler and Williams were critically wounded by rifle fire at a distance by Peltier and others and then, after being incapacitated, were both shot in the face at point blank range by Peltier with his AR-15. 


There are many things the U.S. Government can do to support our Native American population, but releasing Peltier for his despicable crimes will not correct any wrongs of the past, but instead will use the guilt of these wrongs to free a guilty multi-murderer. 


Peltier remains an unrepentant murderer and should continue to serve the remainder of his consecutive life sentences and the additional seven consecutive years for an armed escape. 



Ed Woods

Friday, November 19, 2021


Subject: Jennifer Bendery re Leonard Peltier


This is to provide a brief response to Jennifer Bendery’s Huffpost article regarding clemency, actually commutation, for convicted murderer Leonard Peltier.


If there were any, or even just one, “Constitutional violation” in Peltier’s conviction we would not be having any conversations today. The matter would have been settled long ago. The fact remains that every single allegation Peltier has raised over the years, both legal and frivolous, have been addressed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and to the U.S. Supreme Court, which twice denied certiorari. Taking the time to review and understand Peltier’s lengthy appellate history clearly establishes this fact.


The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…” “…Peltier’s contention of manufactured evidence are far from convincing.” (Direct Appeal, 8th Circuit, 9/14/78)


Stating that the “Prosecutors hid key evidence,” and that “They withheld ballistic evidence that proved it wasn’t Leonard’s weapon…” is simply factually untrue. A three-day evidentiary (ballistics) hearing in 1985 and another appeal to the Eighth Circuit clearly proved otherwise: “When all is said and done, however, a few simple but very important facts remain. The casing introduced into evidence had in fact been extracted from the Wichita AR-15 (Peltier’s weapon). That point was not disputed; although the defense had its own ballistics expert, it offered no contrary evidence.’’ (8th Circuit, 9/11/86)


The claim that President Clinton did not free Peltier because of some imagined FBI pressure is erroneous and remains imbedded in Peltier’s longstanding folklore. The real reason is much simpler and a few people know why. 


Relying on former U.S. Attorney, James Reynolds’s representations concerning Peltier’s conviction are grossly erroneous. Reynolds makes claims to authority and knowledge over the Peltier case that simply collapse under even the slightest scrutiny. It remains bewildering that Reynolds makes these assertions:


Was Peltier’s trial perfect? No, criminal trials rarely are, but the important question is whether he received a fair trial. “I believe he got a fair trial, not a perfect trial, but a fair trial.” (8th Circuit Court Judge Gerald Heaney who ruled against Peltier based on the law but nonetheless later wrote letters of support that Peltier and his committee heavily relied upon for many years.)

A true journalist, even one operating as an advocate, would be remise in not asking about his only real alibi. If Peltier is innocent as he claims, why did he assert for nearly two decades that someone else, the phantom Mr. X, killed the Agents? A claim documented in books and by Peltier’s own admission in Redford’s film, Incident at Oglala. Barely looking into the camera, Peltier states “This story is true.” Well, it wasn’t and Peltier had to walk back that lie. One of his own came forward publicly to denounce it, along with one of his own attorneys. Without surprise Peltier never mentioned Mr. X in his own autobiography, Prison Writings. A truly innocent person would not have to fabricate his only alibi.


Any reasonable person with even a cursory understanding of the treatment of Native Americans could not deny history, nevertheless Leonard Peltier is the last person entitled to correct the wrongs of the past. 


Peltier is not deserving of commutation, whether he admits to the truth of the events of that June day at Pine Ridge, or not, but must continue to serve his consecutive life sentences and the additional seven consecutive years for an armed prison escape (a fact that Peltier and his supporters want everyone to ignore and forget).


Peltier has arguably had more appeals than many death row inmates. Any serious review of his convictions must include a thorough understanding of the lengthy appellate process. Without that it becomes more of the same tired rhetoric and fabrications promoted by decades of folklore and myth. 


The above barely scratches the surface of the entire case against Leonard Peltier’s remorseless guilt. In just about every sense one can imagine, Peltier and the truth are strangers to one another.


"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"

Ed Woods

Cincinnati, Ohio

Saturday, October 9, 2021


Dear Supporters:


Peltier remains at USP Coleman serving the remainder of his two consecutive life sentences for the brutal murder of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, along with the additional seven consecutive years for his armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary. The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC) has relocated, again, for about the sixth time, from Florida to a desktop in an apartment in Marshall, Wisconsin, along with an updated website.


The latest website is well done but still contains the same fabrications, misinformation and some provable lies that have been the bedrock of Peltier’s persona since his arrest in Canada on February 6, 1976. This website mirrors the same myth and folklore that has been promoted by the ever-morphing Peltier committees.


In other words, within the Peltier camp, and Peltier himself, nothing has changed;  peddle the same falsehoods repeated ad nauseam, only now in a more presentable format. These falsehoods and erroneous claims have been continually exposed through a lengthy appellate process. 


The appellate courts have not shied away from recognizing Peltier’s guilt as just a few examples clearly demonstrate:


“The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…Peltier’s contention of manufactured evidence are far from convincing.”

(Direct Appeal; Eighth Circuit, 9/14/78)


“When all is said and done, however, a few simple but very important facts remain. The casing introduced into evidence had in fact been extracted from the Wichita AR-15.” (Eighth Circuit, 9/11/86; referencing Peltier’s AR-15)


“Peltier’s arguments fail because their underlying premises are fatally flawed.”

(Eighth Circuit, 7/7/93)


“The record as a whole leaves no doubt that the jury accepted the government’s theory that Peltier had personally killed the two agents, after they were seriously wounded, by shooting them at point blank range with an AR-15 rifle.”

(Rule 35 Motion, Eighth Circuit, 12/18/02)


And, “I believe he got a fair trial, not a perfect trial, but a fair trial” (Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Heaney; 1991, ’60 Minutes’ interview. Judge Heaney played a critical role in Peltier’s appellate history, and later as well. (Footnote 1)


* * *


Peltier, not likely a fisherman, nonetheless is always trolling for cash; lately through the Peltier Store or with the usual begging to help with his legal woes that all can be found in the same smelly chum bucket.


His, Peltier v. Joel Sacks, et. al. case, stemming from the great Tumwater, Washington paintings caper, hit a brick wall recently (Fn. 2)


On August 19th a federal judge dismissed, with prejudice, Peltier’s federal civil suit.

A month later, as is his right to do so, Peltier filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (NCCA). So, what happens next? Another year delay, or longer perhaps (assuming the Ninth Circuit even entertains accepting the case), with two possible outcomes: The NCCA upholds the dismissal which means, literally, case closed, or rejects the lower court’s dismissal which then means probably another year or more as Peltier and Washington State continue their battle.


However, there is a much deeper problem. 


In dismissing Peltier’s civil suit, with prejudice (unquestionably a significant legal distinction), the District Court apparently accepted the State’s legal arguments, based on a factual finding, that Peltier had ‘no standing’ to bring the civil suit forward in the first place. It was undisputed that the paintings displayed in the government facility in Tumwater, Washington did not belong to Leonard Peltier; a fact that was not initially brought to the court’s attention. Peltier had given the artwork to the ILPDC and it is a hypothetical supposition whether the ILPDC could even bring similar action against Washington State.


Yet, Peltier appealed to the Ninth Circuit and the case will likely end there.


Peltier tells us he will try again for parole. Let’s hope he finds a better attorney this time because the last one made a public statement that was arguably the dumbest statement in the entire history of the Peltier saga.


On July 28, 2009, before a small group gathered outside the concrete walls of Lewisburg Penitentiary, the attorney made this outlandish comment:


“…they (the FBI and government) don’t have any creativity, they don’t come up with anything new. They don’t have any greater ability to explain their justification for their position. It’s a very wooden position, kill an FBI agent and live the rest of your life in prison.”


A first semester law student could recognize the fallacy of such a baseless argument. The Government, (unlike Peltier over the years changing his version of the events of June 26, 1975), has no need to come up with anything new beyond Peltier’s Fargo trial, conviction and numerous appeals. The ‘government,’ that obviously escaped the attorney’s troubled logic, repeatedly, over the course of many appeals, explained in great detail their justification for Peltier’s conviction and continued incarceration. Throughout that entire process Peltier’s conviction and sentence has never been altered. Nevertheless, the attorney did get one thing right; if someone brutally murders a law enforcement officer then logic dictates that spending one’s life in prison, is justified. 


Noted at the bottom of the new homepage is the repeated reminder that:


Much of the information contained on this site is derived from ‘In the Spirit of Crazy Horse’ by renowned author Peter Matthiessen…He is a highly respected author and his works have received wide acclaim.”


To reiterate an infamous phrase; depending on what the meaning of the word isis, perhaps the ILPDC should point out that Mr. Matthiessen passed away seven years ago, April 5, 2014 to be exact. Matthiessen did attend Peltier’s 2009 Lewisburg parole hearing, but nevertheless his seminal work was not without serious criticism. Matthiessen “is utterly unconvincing, indeed embarrassingly sophomoric, when he pleads the legal innocence of individual Indian criminals…and not only fails to convince; he inadvertently makes a strong case for Mr. Peltier’s guilt.” (Legal scholar and Harvard Law professor, Alan Dershowitz, New York Times book review, 1983.)


The homepage of the updated website carries forward a more recent fallacy from 2017:


“James Reynolds Former US Attorney said (The Guardian 01/04/2017) of Leonard, “You’re not really participating in the crime yourself. Just because you’re there, you’re going to get nailed.” Citing Peltier’s motives, Reynolds added, “He didn’t go out there with the intention to kill anybody. He was trying to protect his people”


The Guardian article barely scratches the surface of the facts behind the outrageous public claims made by James H. Reynolds. That could explain why the ILPDC didn’t go further into the alleged authority over the Peltier case that Reynolds’ claimed. Claims, that upon even a casual examination simply evaporated. To state that Reynolds was disingenuous, confused or distracted would be much too mild of a criticism of his public assertions, because they were transparently untrue. Rather than rehashing the Reynolds fiasco here, and to demonstrate that Reynolds, the interloper dancing on the graves of two murdered and mutilated human beings, please take a moment and see the following (Fn. 3).


According to the new website, Peltier’s thirty-three week effort to raise cash for his legal fund has reached an astonishing 36% of its goal, which pretty well demonstrates the continued lack of interest within his support structure. Maybe folks like bantering his name about, waving some posters and banners, but when it comes down to it, hands seem to get stuck in pockets and although Peltier has had some very capable attorneys, good pro bono attorneys are hard to find, and keep.


At least in the begging arena Peltier has avoided the previously repeated canard that giving money to him was “tax-deductible.” That is gone, finally, or for now at least, by the wayside. Perhaps those prior attempts at tax-deductible donations were finally noted by the I.R.S. 

(Fn. 4)


The last thing Peltier may be is a charity case. What he is though is a convicted felon who remains, despite his personal travails and alligator tears of innocence, guilty and an unrepentant convicted murderer. (Fn. 5)


“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed Woods




1)The Heaney factor:

2) Leonard Peltier, Chauncey Peltier v. Joel Sacks, et. al., #C17-5209-JCC.

Review of early history of the Washington State case:

See also ‘Reply in support of State Defendants motion for summary judgment,’ noting date, January 22, 2021, 3:17-cv-05209-JCC, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma.

3) James H. Reynolds: Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Reynolds follow up:

4) I.R.S. and 501(c)3:

Tax deductible issues:

5) Why Peltier is the worst: