• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 21s

Fairbanks Four demonstration dominates first day of AFN

By Heather Hintze 4:13 PM October 15, 2015

The Fairbanks Four took center stage on the first day of the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage.

Gov. Bill Walker addressed the issue briefly in his speech to the hundreds gathered at the Dena’ina Center.

“On the Fairbanks Four, we’re not where we need to be on that,” Walker said. “I’m so impressed with your passion on that. I sense your frustration toward me; I applaud your passion.”

The support for the Fairbanks Four—Marvin Roberts, Eugene Vent, Kevin Pease, and George Frese—was evident as Walker continued speaking. A group raised a banner reading, ‘Justice Fairbanks Four’ and many people held their hands in the air as a protest of the men’s time in prison.

The four men were convicted of murdering John Hartman in Fairbanks in 1997. Many believe they were wrongfully convicted.

“We wanted to make sure the governor heard our message that these young, innocent men need to be released, they need to be free and we wanted him to know all the tribes of Alaska are watching this case closely,” said Victor Joseph, president of the Tanana Chief’s Conference.

“Free the four!” cries could be heard throughout the room as Walker finished his speech.

Fairbanks Four AFN

Heather Hintze / KTVA

AFN co-chair Ana Hoffman then weighed in.

“With the utmost respect for you, Governor, we ask you to make things right and just. We put our faith, hope, love and trust in your wisdom,” Hoffman said.

Jerry Isaac, another AFN co-chair, sang a grieving song to express the community’s feelings.

“In our Native way, when death suddenly happens we are shocked, we are saddened and we grieve,” Isaac said. “In this case there’s no physical death but the forceful taking away of freedom from four young men.”

Joseph said there’s a bigger issue at stake than just getting the men released.

“For a long time this hasn’t been about the boys’ innocence. This has been about the judicial system in the eyes of the Native people and it should be in the eyes of all Alaskans,” Joseph explained. “This could happen to anyone’s children.”

Walker said he’s impressed by the ongoing support. He said it’s been a central theme at other AFN gatherings he’s attended.

“It’s very appropriate. It’s what’s gotten the Fairbanks Four their day in court,” the governor said. “They’re in court today because of the passion of those behind them.”

It’s an issue that continues to resonate with the Alaska Native community and a fight they hope will result in freedom for the four.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Meet the candidates: District 3 – Seat E – West Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Mar 27, 16:31

    KTVA invited every registered candidate running in the upcoming Anchorage municipal election to an on-camera interview at our studios to discuss the following topics: Balancing the budget Public safety Introducing new taxes Addressing homelessness in Anchorage Plans for the future We also asked each candidate to submit a 300-word biography, each of which has been […]

  • News

    Mat-Su school board calls emergency meeting following superintendent’s resignation

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 16:23

    The school board announced an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) superintendent’s “pending immediate resignation.” Superintendent Gene Stone’s resignation was not specifically announced by the district, but was outlined in a resolution to be considered at the emergency meeting. Stone was selected to replace Dr. Deena Bishop in May 2016 […]

  • Politics

    Jeff Sessions calls on sanctuary cities to ‘enforce our immigration laws’

    by Emily Schultheis / CBS News on Mar 27, 15:51

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing Monday afternoon to urge sanctuary cities to change their policies, noting that the Department of Justice plans to deny them funding if they do not begin following federal immigration laws. “I strongly urge our nation’s states and cities ad counties to […]

  • Another Fairbanks police officer’s name used in recent scam, department warns

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 15:04

    Another Fairbanks police officer’s name is being used in a scam, the department announced Monday. Lt. Matt Soden is the second Fairbanks officer so far to be used by scammers in the past year, following a scam using Det. Avery Thompson’s name in December.  In both cases, the Fairbanks Police Department stressed that neither man was […]

  • News

    Brewery expansion could help Juneau recycling efforts

    by Associated Press on Mar 27, 14:30

    Alaskan Brewing Company’s plans to expand its Juneau-based facility could help spur the consolidation of the city’s waste services. The Juneau Empire reports that the brewery is looking to purchase four lots owned by the City and Borough of Juneau for additional retail, storage or office space. The transfer would displace the city’s water utility […]

  • FBI: 2 armed suspects robbed a midtown bank

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 12:33

    Two armed suspects robbed a Northern Skies Federal Credit Union Monday morning, according to an FBI spokeswoman. The robbery took place just after 10:30 a.m., when two suspected walked into the bank, which is located at 400 W. Benson Blvd., according to Staci Feger-Pellessier. “Both were wearing masks and were armed with guns, one had […]

  • News

    Flow reduced in leaking underwater Alaska gas pipeline

    by Associated Press on Mar 27, 11:32

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The owner of a leaking underwater pipeline has reduced the amount of natural gas spewing into Alaska’s Cook Inlet by about half. Hilcorp Alaska LLC over the weekend lowered line pressure. The company says the leak will be cut to 85,000 to 115,000 cubic feet of processed natural gas per day. […]

  • Sports

    Brown Bears hockey team on thin financial ice

    by Dave Goldman on Mar 27, 9:56

    It’s been a rough season for Alaska hockey. The University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves program was nearly cut, but remained after an eleventh-hour save. Then the Alaska Aces announced this will be their final season due to budget issues. Now the Kenai Brown Bears are following suit. But is this it? It’s still an uphill […]