Thursday, May 16, 2024


Edward Woods

May15, 2024



Patricia K. Cushwa, Acting Chairperson

U.S. Parole Commission

90 K Street NE, 3rd floor

Washington DC 20530


Re: Leonard Peltier #89637-132

       Parole Hearing, June 10, 2024

       U.S.P. Coleman 1, FL


Dear Ms. Cushwa:


Leonard Peltier and his supporters claim he is a ‘political prisoner.’ This could not be further from the truth. Through decades of folklore and myth Peltier has attempted to change the narrative and alter the truth, however, the facts tell an entirely different story. 


Briefly, as you may know, on June 26, 1975 FBI Agents Coler and Williams were searching for a fugitive on the Pine Ridge Reservation. It is undisputed that Peltier and other members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), in an unprovoked attack, severely wounded both Agents. Agent Williams’s, waving his shirt that he also used as a tourniquet on his partner’s severely injured arm, attempted to surrender, but was ignored. Peltier, with his AR-15 rifle and two other AIM members, approached the defenseless Agents. Both Agents were shot, point-blank in the face. Agent Coler may have been unconscious and had his jaw destroyed. Agent Williams faced his killer as the muzzle was placed against an upraised hand, blowing his fingers through the back of his head. Leonard Peltier was convicted of murder and aiding and abetting, receiving consecutive life sentences and later an additional seven-consecutive years for an armed escape during which prison guards were shot at.


Over the years the Peltier saga has been fraught with an untold number of lies and fabrications. After over two-dozen appeals his conviction has been reviewed in minute detail and has never been altered. 


What follows are but a few excerpts from the lengthy appellate history. Nevertheless, to place Peltier’s heinous crime in its very real perspective, this was the crime scene: 


“Previous federal court decisions provided the (Parole) Commission with ample facts to support its conviction that Peltier personally shot Agent Coler and Williams.” (10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11/4/2003)


Peltier’s AR-15 rifle, later recovered in Wichita, Kansas: “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. This point was not disputed…” and, “The trial witnesses unanimously testified that there was only one AR-15 in the compound prior to the murders, that this weapon was used exclusively by Peltier and carried out by Peltier after the murders.” (8th Circuit Court of Appeals, 9/11/1986)


Peltier’s only alibi; the lie of Mr. X: For nearly two decades Peltier claimed he knew who killed the Agents, the phantom Mr. X. In a film (Incident at Oglala) Peltier stated “This story is true.” However, one of his AIM cohorts publicly denied this (Dino Butler, 1995), and as well as a Peltier attorney (Michael Kuzma, 11/3/2012)


Peltier has fabricated all manner of conspiracy theories claiming innocence, however, has made public statements demonstrating a total lack of remorse—a critical consideration for granting parole, and his unquestioned guilt:


In the context of June 26, 1975 Peltier publicly stated; “I never thought my commitment would mean sacrificing like this, but I was willing to do so nonetheless. And really, if necessary, I’d do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do.” (2/6/2010). “don’t regret any of this for a minute.” (9/12/2014)


In an unrelated trial, sworn testimony revealed Peltier’s description of what happened that fateful day: “He (Peltier) said the (expletive)was begging for his life but I shot him anyway.”


And in his autobiography (1999, p.15), he offered this unrepentant and repulsive comment to his victim’s families: “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.”


That certainly is not the reason Peltier received consecutive life sentences and an additional seven consecutive years for the armed escape. Although lengthy, the appellate history of Peltier’s conviction is perfectly clear as every spurious claim and allegation made by Peltier has been thoroughly analyzed and refuted. Peltier’s rambling arguments against his conviction and feigned innocence, along with revealing public statements, only reinforce his remorseless guilt.


There are those who deserve parole consideration. However, Peltier is not among them.


With all due respect I would urge the Commission to not grant Peltier parole. He has not earned it. Although he is elderly, FBI Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, brutally and senselessly murdered, were robbed of their opportunity to fulfill their own lives. 



Edw. Woods

Edward Woods


U.S. Attorney General, Hon. Merrick B. Garland, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20530, (202) 877-8339