Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is considering granting pardons or clemency to four indigenous men convicted In the 1997 death of a Fairbanks teenager.
Walker’s deliberations highlight a busy week in the case against the so-called Fairbanks Four, three Alaska Native men and an American Indian who have always maintained their innocence in the death of 15-year-old John Hartman.
The men are seeking to have their convictions overturned, and a judge is expected to make a decision next year.
The state continues to vigorously defend the convictions, but it made a surprise offer this week to free the three remaining jailed men. In exchange, all four would not be allowed to sue government entities.
A judge canceled a Friday hearing over the deal, saying it wasn’t clear to him that he had the authority to free the men after prosecutors neither pardoned nor offered clemency.
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