August 22, 2009 in Nation/World

Activist Peltier denied parole

Associated Press
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Peltier
(Full-size photo)

BISMARCK, N.D. – American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned since 1977 for the deaths of two FBI agents, has been denied parole after authorities decided that releasing him would diminish the seriousness of his crime, a federal prosecutor said Friday.

Peltier, who claims the FBI framed him, will not be eligible for parole again until July 2024, when he will be 79 years old.

U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley announced the decision of the U.S. Parole Commission.

Peltier is serving two life sentences for the execution-style deaths of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams during a June 26, 1975, standoff on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was convicted in Fargo, N.D., in 1977.

He has said the FBI framed him, which the agency denies, and unsuccessfully appealed his conviction numerous times. He also was denied parole in 1993.

An angry defense attorney Eric Seitz declined to comment Friday, saying the Parole Commission had not had the “courtesy” to inform him of the decision. “We’ve heard nothing,” he said.

Peltier had a full parole hearing for the first time in 15 years last month at the Lewisburg, Pa., federal prison where he is being held.

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