Free Richard Lafuente!

Did the kid from Plainview really drive his El Camino over Eddie Peltier on a North Dakota Indian reservation in 1983? Nobody on the rez thinks so, and neither will you. So why is he still in federal prison?

The Killing Of Eddie Peltier

There were about a dozen drunk Indians in the mob that beat Eddie Peltier half to death and then ran him over. The men, mostly in their twenties, had been drinking beer and smoking pot at an all-night party that began on August 27, 1983, when, toward dawn, one of them started fighting with him. That fight broke up, but another started soon after. Eddie fled, running down the hill toward the highway. The mob followed.

Get that son of a bitch!” someone cried.

Don’t let him get away!”

Several of them caught him in a ditch by the side of the road and fell on him with, according to various witnesses, fists, feet, a pole, a lead pipe, a bat, a stick, two clubs, and a set of nunchakus.

Teach him a lesson! He’s a pig!”


Four witnesses would tell of the fighting that morning on the Devils Lake Sioux reservation, in North Dakota, but only one reported seeing the actual killing with her own eyes. She described Eddie breaking away and making it to the other side of the road before he was grabbed, beaten some more, and dragged back to the asphalt, where, as the others stood by, two Texans, Richard LaFuente and John Perez, finished him off. John signaled to Richard, who was sitting in his El Camino. Richard started the car and crept forward, rumbling its V8 327 engine loudly, then stopped in front of the doomed man, who had risen to his hands and knees. After a dramatic pause, he stomped his foot on the accelerator and the car shot forward, tires squealing, and slammed into Eddie, rolling over him and crushing his head and heart. Then he did it again, putting the car in reverse, squealing the tires, and backing over the body. Another witness, who said she was in the El Camino (she swore John was in there too) but had averted her eyes, added that nobody was near Eddie when Richard ran over him and that

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...