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Drifter Sentenced To Life In Prison For Slaying Three Indian Women

February 11, 1989

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A drifter who posed as an American Indian was sentenced to life in prison for murdering and sexually mutilating three Indian women, a penalty that was applauded by Indian activists who attended the trial.

″Everybody’s happy,″ said Eleanor Evans, one of several American Indian Movement activists who were in the courtroom Friday night for the sentencing of Billy Glaze, 45.

″I think there is a sense of relief,″ added AIM member Don McCoy. ″It has a tendency to restore my faith in the legal system and it alleviated some fears.″

Jurors convicted Glaze on three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder in the slayings of Kathleen Bullman, 19, Angeline Whitebird-Sweet, 26, and Angela Green, 21, in 1986 and 1987. Police believe the women met their killer in taverns.

Glaze showed no sign of emotion as the verdict was read earlier Friday night, but softly told Hennepin County Judge Jonathan Lebedoff, ″I’m not the serial killer.″

Lebedoff sentenced him to three life sentences, to be served consecutively, making him eligible for parole in 52 1/2 years.

″I have no reason to dispute the legitimacy of the findings of the jury,″ the judge said. Noting that Minnesota does not have the death penalty, he told Glaze it was his ″strong wish that you serve the rest of your life in prison.″

″The horrors that we’ve been privy to over the last few weeks cannot be undone by any sentence,″ Lebedoff said. ″There’s nothing I can do to turn back the clock.″

The jury found that Glaze had killed the three women while sexually assaulting them, resulting in an automatic finding of first-degree murder under Minnesota law. The conviction on second-degree murder charges reflects the jury’s finding that the crimes were not premeditated.

The 35 1/2 -hour deliberations began Tuesday after a two-week trial.

During the trial, Leroy Hamblin, a transient, testified that he witnessed Bullman’s murder and identified Glaze as the killer. Hamblin, who said he had been drinking and smoking marijuana at the time, said he was afraid to stop the killing.

Other prosecution witnesses testified that Glaze told them he had killed the women.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Pete Connors, a prosecutor in the case, said in his closing statement that Glaze’s motive was that he hated Indian women.

″He had a fury in his gut; he wanted to hurt them badly. He told people that,″ Connors said.

But Glaze’s attorney, Michael Colich, said the state had failed to prove that Glaze killed anyone. Glaze did not testify. He characterized Glaze as a non-violent drifter who called attention to himself by saying despicable things about women.

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