Saturday, April 2, 2022


Dear Supporters:

The following email was sent to Peltier's attorney, Kevin Sharp, responding to a March 10th radio interview.

Dear Judge Sharp:


I listened to your March 10th interview on K103.7, KAHNAWAKE Radio and found it compelling. Of the many topics you discussed, there are several that beg for a response:


1) 60 Murders of AIM members and supporters “that were not investigated by the FBI.”


Actually, they were, and they were not all AIM members or supporters. 


In July 2000 the FBI responded to allegations from the original Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) claiming, at that time, 64 ‘murders’ on Pine Ridge were never investigated, although then, 10 were not even named by Peltier or the LPDC. (The Peltier ‘committees’ number of ‘murders’ has varied over the years.)


In any event, of the 57 named victims provided to the FBI, the deaths included: Child abuse 3, domestic violence 4, alcohol related 5, robbery 2, fights/personal disputes 14, vehicular homicide 4, accidental shooting 2, health reasons 2, suicide 1, accidental 2, and no record, 1. 


Of those named; 21 resulted in federal convictions and/or trials, 1 in a local conviction, 22 were investigated but did not result in convictions for a number of valid reasons and 11 were not within FBI jurisdiction. One very important name, Anna Mae Aquash, who was murdered in December 1975 (the same Anna Mae who Leonard stuck a gun in her mouth accusing her of being an informant—she wasn’t—but AIM ordered her execution anyway). Decades later, AIM members, Arlo Looking Cloud (2004) and John Graham (2014) were convicted of her murder. 


During the interview you claimed that these “murders” were of “AIM members or supporters.” 


Clearly, these should not include; Michelle Linda Tobacco, age nine months, Floyd Sherman Binals, age sixteen months and Yvette Loraine Lone Hill, age seven; especially considering how they died. 


However, what this comes down to is that the Peltier “murders never investigated” claim, is fiction. 


Mr. Sharp, as a former federal judge, and now Peltier attorney, who undoubtedly desires to preserve your reputation, have you verified whether Peltier’s claims are true? If you haven’t been able to, then this is promoting a false narrative and supporting more Peltier myth and folklore. 


Please take a moment and review the names and circumstances of their deaths that—were investigated;

Attached for further reference is the May 2000 FBI booklet; Accounting for Native American Deaths, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota.


Now that you have the opportunity to research and determine the truth, I would hope that this Peltier fable can be put to rest. 


Please feel free to challenge—or debate, any of the findings. As we both know and understand, in some investigations, especially involving situations where tensions are high, that securing cooperation and corroborating and supporting evidence, is very challenging. No excuse, just a realistic fact.


2) “Why did he shoot him?” Well, Joe (Killsright) Stuntz (who was still wearing the FBI jacket he stole from the trunk of Agent Coler’s vehicle—as he gave Leonard a smile), was shooting at responding Agents and law enforcement. 


Peter Matthiessen can help you understand this unfolding event. 


After the Agents were murdered and Peltier and the others were making their getaway “…Peltier, Robideau, and Butler returned to the camp to load Sam Loud Hawks’ red and white van for an escape: they left Joe Killsright and Norman Charles as a rear guard in the compound to delay anyone who tried to approach.” “…Wish Draper went back up the hill to tell Joe to hurry up. He returned with Norman Charles, followed by Anderson and Brown: Charles told the older men that Joe was dead.” (Crazy Horse, p. 159-160)


“Delay anyone” didn’t mean that Stuntz and Charles would greet responding Agents and Police with casual conversation. They were armed and the “delay” meant using their rifles.


“Why did he shoot him?” It's a fairly simple premise that if you shoot at law enforcement, chances are pretty strong they will shoot back. Hence, the defensive shooting of Joe Stuntz.


3) “Not extradited because there was no evidence.” This was your discussion concerning the Myrtle Poor Bear affidavits. 


Actually, the Canadian Government was pretty clear about Peltier’s extradition. I would offer for you to read what the Canadian Department of Justice stated about this matter, in case the Peltier committee didn’t share it with you, (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, A. Anne McLellan, 10/12/99): 


As I indicated above, I have concluded that Mr. Peltier was lawfully extradited to the United States. In my opinion, given the test for committal for extradition referred to above, the circumstantial evidence, taken alone, constituted sufficient evidence to justify Mr. Peltier’s committal on the two murder charges.” “Further, the third Poor Bear affidavit was considered by the Federal Court of Appeal and the Minister of Justice before Mr. Peltier was extradited to the United States. Subsequently, further submissions respecting the third Poor Bear affidavit were made to the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as the appellate courts in the United States.”


During your interview, the sole inferred conclusion that Poor Bear was “…how they got extradition,” is incorrect. 


Exactly what part of ‘taken alone’ and ‘further submissions’ is so difficult for Peltier and his supporters to understand?


Further, regarding Myrtle Poor Bear, Peltier’s own attorney, John Lowe, believing the Government may have planned calling her as a witness at Peltier’s trial, said “…a witness whose mental imbalance is so gross as to render her testimony unbelievable.” In other words, the affidavits notwithstanding, Peltier certainly didn’t want her to testify, for or against him, at his trial.  


4) The critical shell casing and the 10/2/1975 FBI Laboratory teletype: 


The government did not believe the teletype was part of the discovery process because it was a preliminary document, rather than the final lab ‘reports.’  Eighth Circuit Court Judge Gerald Heaney disagreed and sent Peltier’s appeal back to the District Court for a 1984, 3-day evidentiary (ballistics) hearing. The District Court denied, and Peltier appealed again to the Eighth Circuit and we all know what happened then. Judge Heaney, with a majority opinion, denied Peltier’s motion for a new trial based on the Bagley test, “…that we be convinced, from a review of the entire record, that the jury probably would have reached a different result. We have not been so convinced.” 


Exactly what part of ‘entire record’ and ‘not convinced’ is so difficult for Peltier and his supporters to comprehend?


Any thorough discussion regarding the ballistics evidence must include that it was resolved. 


It was obvious that Judge Heaney felt strongly about Native American issues and the Peltier case. However, he made his decision based on the law and in his letters, recommending clemency, he never suggested that Peltier was not guilty. He also stated in a television interview “He got a fair trial, not a perfect trial, but a fair trial” 


5) Judge Sharp, respectfully, even just a mention of James H. Reynolds weakens any support of Peltier. Reynolds’s claims in letters and an interview are unsupportable. Reynolds has no credibility regarding Peltier’s conviction or appellate process. If there is any doubt, please read what follows and give him a call: Further references regarding James H. Reynolds are included here in footnotes:


6) You stated during the interview that “We know they were not in the pickup.” 


This presumes you reference the government’s position that Peltier, Norman Charles and Joe Stuntz were in Sam Loud Hawk’s suburban (alternately describe as a van, and known to be used regularly by Peltier after he repaired it), and this was the vehicle followed by Agents’ Coler and Williams and the same vehicle and occupants from which (according to eyewitness Ron Williams on the FBI radio), started the unprovoked attack on the Agents. 

I would be very interested in seeing the origin and proof of where “We Know” comes from.

Could it be from Peltier himself, who has repeatedly changed his version of events and has a proven track record of lies? 

As a former federal judge, now defending Peltier, his lack of consistency over the years regarding the facts makes your advocacy very difficult. Passions aside, your position carries the ethical duty of not misrepresenting the facts, while endeavoring to vigorously defend your client. This is made all the more difficult because there are no remaining legal avenues to pursue; only commutation or parole. In the light of day, however, the truth and facts weigh heavily against your client.

Peltier claimed he was in the AIM camp about to eat pancakes and have some hot black coffee that “…was cut short by the staccato sound of gunfire” (Prison Writings, p. 121). That’s what he claimed anyway. Remember too, for nearly two decades Peltier also promoted the lie of Mr. X as the killer.

Yet, according to Peltier’s defense team, Angie Long Visitor was characterized as a “critical and material” witness. Angie testified to seeing the red and white (1966 Chevrolet) van, owned by Sam Loud Hawk, but used by Peltier, at the “Y” fork on the Jumping Bull property. (Testimony & Matthiessen’s, Crazy Horse, p. 332) (The location of the van at the “Y” fork is significant to the unfolding events. Please, at least view Matthiessen’s map of the Jumping Bull property; in the Crazy Horse-Introduction.) 

A shell, or bullet, casing located in this van, (along with the shell casing from the trunk of Agent Coler’s vehicle) were referenced in a court decision as a result of the three-day ‘ballistics’ hearing: “Later examination of the remaining .223 bullet casings submitted in connection with

 {F. Supp. 1159} the RESMURS case, resulted in approximately 114 positive identifications with the Wichita AR-15.” (U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota, May 22, 1985)


The location of Peltier’s red and white van at the “Y” fork on the Jumping Bull property, and a hundred and fourteen (114) shell casings matched with Peltier’s AR-15, could certainly account for a number of the bullet holes in the Agents’ vehicles, along with Peltier’s location at the time of the unprovoked attack.




7) The Oath:


You made the analogy that several times in your life, the Navy, the Bar, the federal bench, you took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and repeated at least twice, that in Peltier’s case “Constitutional violations were open and obvious,” and that were “committed by others who took the same oath.” 


Judge Sharp, I’m certain you recognize that this is a seriously consequential accusation. 


We both understand the emotional nexus in the Peltier saga. However, by implying that the justice system, and those jurists involved, ruled against Peltier with deliberate malice, may tarnish your reputation through overzealous advocacy. 


I have not tallied all of Peltier’s motions and appeals, only those related to Peltier’s conviction and appeals. I am aware that there were many others, including at least parole and FOIPA issues. As a result, the Peltier matter has been before a number of judges. The total could reach twenty or even more over the years, and yet you imply that these judges all missed or allowed open and obvious Constitutional violations to occur.


Would all those Judges who served, arguably many decades of professional judicial service, with dignity and honor, have deliberately violated their oath to the Constitution in the Peltier case? Certainly, one would hope you are not implying (as Peltier has repeatedly) some grand, over-arching conspiracy against Peltier, or perhaps rampant judicial incompetence and possible misconduct. There are significant odds that those jurists would find your characterization offensive, or worse. 


By your own implication, one of those who failed their oath would include Judge Gerald Heaney; certainly, someone who played a critical role in the Peltier matter. 


To place this in its proper perspective, this is how the Honorable Gerald Heaney, (May he Rest in Peace), was described in


Gerald Heaney was truly one of America’s Greatest Generation. At the outbreak of WWII, as a young lawyer, he could have avoided the heat of battle and used his legal qualifications in a safe stateside, or behind the front-lines, assignment. Instead, he enlisted as a private and then sought a U.S. Army commission and became a young infantry officer, qualified as a prestigious Army Ranger and participated in the D-Day invasion. He earned a Silver Star, and fought in several battles through the end of war in Europe. His courage can neither be denied nor ignored. Judge Heaney was also a jurist of impeccable reputation and experience”—obviously, by upholding the oath he swore to


Yet, you apparently appear to so casually demean, and dismiss his character and years of judicial service. 


Can either of us, with our predictable human faults and personal achievements, measure up to such an incredible person as Judge Heaney? As for myself, I would be humble and suggest not.


As you described your judicial quest, you had met the professional traits necessary to become a judge, acknowledging your own temperamentintegrity and judgement; qualifications you ascribe for yourself but apparently and openly deny to others.


8) Changed Theory:


It is bewildering that an attorney and former federal judge, who has purportedly reviewed the Peltier matter, the trial transcript and multiple appellate decisions, can continue the false narrative that the government changed its theory of the prosecution. 


Judge Sharp, you have repeatedly made this claim but have not provided specifics as to how this actually occurred. As a former federal judge, you certainly understand that broad and sweeping claims are just not sufficient and now only echo Peltier’s fabrications regarding his conviction and appeals. 


As previously mentioned, aiding and abetting was on the table from day one. That bears repeating; aiding and abetting was integral to Peltier’s prosecution from the very beginning. 


Peltier was indicted on November 17, 1975 for ‘murder’ and ‘aiding and abetting’ and warrants were issued based on those charges: And, at the conclusion of Peltier’s trial, even jury instructions that included aiding and abetting were agreed upon by the government and defense. 


No mystery, no secrets, no magic, yet the provable falsehood is repeated as if saying it enough times will make it true. 


This “fatally flawed” conclusion was rejected by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1993:

It is impossible to conclude that, in all the circumstances, (AUSA) Crooks…intended…to abandon one of the two theories upon which the government had tried the case and upon which the case was submitted to the jury.” (i.e., aiding and abetting)


What part of ‘impossible’ and ‘upon which’ are such a challenge for Peltier supporters to grasp?

                                                             * * *


I have not seen the latest clemency petition, but would certainly like to. I can’t imagine that it contains anything new or exceptional but would like the opportunity to respond to the issues it offers. I would appreciate a copy. Previously, Peltier posted the petitions on his website.


It would be encouraging if any future media statements included more elements of the actual record. However, removing ‘contested facts’' from the Peltier narrative would result in a very short interview. 


Most respectfully, for your reputation and posterity, I would urge you to review the facts in greater detail, contrasting the entire record with Peltier’s public statements, feigned innocence, years of fabrications and an alleged wrongful conviction. On balance, you may just find the actual truth disturbing. 


“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams
Ed Woods

The Beginning:  



The End: Jack is on the left, Ron on the right.

The Interview, March 10, 2022: