The FBI is covering its own ass, as always.
* FBI radio intercepts indicated that the two FBI agents were chasing a red pickup truck. The day after the shootout, the FBI director stated the FBI’s intent to find a red pickup truck. Red pickup trucks near the reservation were stopped for weeks in the attempt to locate it. However, Leonard did not drive a red pickup truck. At his trial, the FBI instead claimed they had been searching for the red and white van that Leonard was sometimes seen driving.
* Testimony from three witnesses placed Peltier, Robideau and Butler near the crime scene. Those three witnesses later recanted, alleging that the FBI, while extracting their testimony, had tied them to chairs, denied them their right to talk to their attorney, and otherwise coerced and threatened them .
* The jury, unlike the juries in similar prosecutions against AIM leaders at the time, were not allowed to hear about the other cases, where the FBI had been rebuked for tampering with both the evidence and witnesses.
* An FBI ballistics expert testimony during the trial asserted that a shell casing found near the dead agents’ bodies matched the gun tied to Peltier. However it was specified that an forensics test of the firing pin, which would have more definitively matched the gun to the casing, was not performed because the gun was damaged in a fire. Rather, a less definitive test was done which indicated that the extractor marks on the casing and gun match.
Years later, after an FOIA request, the FBI ballistics expert’s records were examined. His report stated that he had performed a ballistics test of the firing pin and concluded that this bullet casing from the scene of the crime did not come from the gun tied to Peltier. That evidence was withheld from the jury during the trial.
* Though the FBI’s investigation indicated that an AR-15 was used to kill the agents, several different AR-15s were in the area at the time of the shootout which could have caused the fatal injuries. Also, no other casings or evidence about them were offered by the prosecutor’s office, even though other bullets were fired at the crime scene.
* At the conclusion of Peltier’s trial, the prosecutor closed his argument saying, “We proved that he went down to the bodies and executed those two young men at point blank range.” However, at the appellate hearing, the government attorney conceded, “We had a murder. We had numerous shooters. We do not know who specifically fired what killing shots…We do not know who shot the agents.”
* The Pennsylvania Parole Commission, which presides over the prison Peltier was held at in Lewisburg, denied Peltier parole in 1993 based on their finding that he, “participated in the premeditated and cold blooded execution of those two officers.” However, the Parole Commission has since stated that it, “recognizes that the prosecution has conceded the lack of any direct evidence that [Peltier] personally participated in the executions of the two FBI agents.”