KUAC reporter Dan Bross provides listeners with a direct connection to the Fairbanks Four as he reports a seven-fold increase in the reward for information in the Hartman Murder case. It's one thing to quote news sources, Bross' radio report delivers the voices of those convicted of Hartman's '97 murder directly to listeners.
Those who contend justice miscarried in the Hartman case will be interested to hear Fairbanks Police Chief Lauren Zager commit to examining any new evidence produced by the growing reward.
Listen to Bross' radio report:
Supporters of the group convicted of the 1997 murder of John Hartman, a Fairbanks teen fatally beaten around the corner from the police headquarters, are turning to blogs and Facebook, sharing information about the case and campaigning for renewed scrutiny of the verdicts.
For years, relatives and other supporters of Marvin Roberts, Eugene Vent, George Frese and Kevin Pease have staged protest marches near the Fairbanks court house, demanding review of the prosecution's circumstantial case. Commentary, articles and the dialogue among potential witnesses posted in the "Free the Fairbanks Four" pages, marks a new chapter in longrunning exoneration efforts.
The four men convicted, all of whom profess their innocence, are serving prison sentences ranging from 33 to 75 years following a series of high-profile trials.
The Facebook site and related blogs are independent, yet supportive, of the Alaska Innocence Project's recent legal work on the case, according to April Monroe Frick, a local realtor and justice advocate who first became involved in the case several years ago as a news reporting student at University of Alaska Fairbanks.
UAF Journalism has been conducting its own independent probe of the case since 2001. Flaws and omissions by Fairbanks Police investigators that may have contributed to wrongful convictions in the Hartman case are documented in "Decade of Doubt," a seven-part newspaper series published by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in July 2008.
UAF Journalism is assisting the Alaska Innocence Project's work on the Hartman murder case.
The partnership has produced several new promising leads, including sworn identification of another group alledgedly responsible for John hartman's brutal 1997 murder.
The challenge now becomes collecting evidence that will persuade courts to overturn the wrongful convictions of Marvin Roberts, Eugene Vent, George Frese and Kevin Pease.
Consider supporting this Innocence Project and have a fine time listening to Marc Brown and The Blues Crew. The music kicks off at 6 p.m., Aug. 20, at the David Salmon Tribal Hall, located just east of the Wendell Street Bridge overlooking the Chena River.
For more about the case, read "Decade of Doubt: The John Hartman murder," an award-winning series first puiblished in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Chairs grew scarce in the Morris Thompson Cultural Center as supporters gathered for a benefit concert for four men incarcerated for the 1997 murder of John Hartman.
“I’m surprised how many people came,” said Hazel Roberts, mother of one of the convicted men. Roberts estimated the benefit raised around $12,500.
The proceeds of the benefit will go in part to the Alaska Innocence Project, an Alaska-based non-profit that works on cases of Alaskans they believe to be wrongly accused. The rest of the money raised go toward a reward fund for anyone who comes forth with information shedding new light on the murder of a John Hartman, a Fairbanks teen murdered on a downtown street more than a decade ago. The Alaska Innocence Project is currently working on behalf of Marvin Roberts and George Frese, two of the four convicted of fatally beating Hartman in a series of high-profile trials back in the late 1990s.
Roberts, Frese, Eugene Vent and Kevin Pease, ranged in age from 17 to 21 at the time of their arrest in 1997. All four are serving long prison sentences for the murder, which they insist they did not commit.