• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 7s

Supporters in Fairbanks call on Gov. Walker to ‘Free the Four’

By Daniella Rivera Photojournalist: Emily Landeen - 10:16 PM December 11, 2015
FAIRBANKS –

Fairbanks Four supporters braved temperatures near -15 degrees Friday, calling on Governor Walker to “Free the Four.”

On a day they thought they would be celebrating the men’s freedom after 18 years, supporters of the Fairbanks Four rallied outside the Rabinowitz Courthouse in Fairbanks instead.

They held up signs calling for exoneration and chanted, “Free the Fairbanks Four!”

Judge Paul Lyle cancelled Friday’s hearing, which supporters believed would have released the Fairbanks Four, because he’s challenging the deal prosecutors offered the four men.

In order to go free, the settlement deal required Kevin Pease, George Frese, Eugene Vent, and Martin Roberts to withdraw their claims of innocence and agree not to sue for wrongful imprisonment. The four were convicted in the murder of 15-year-old John Hartman in 1997.

“They want to cover themselves,” Fairbanks Four supporter, Sherry Byers said. “The Police Department, lots of people have made huge huge mistakes and they’ve had egg on their face for a long, long time, and they know we all know it!”

Judge Lyle released an order saying he doesn’t believe he can legally release the men if they withdraw their claims of innocence, and Thursday gave attorneys on both sides 10 days to prepare an argument to convince him that the deal is legal.

Meanwhile, supporters gathered for a peaceful demonstration Friday to plead and pray for the four men to be at home this Christmas.

“For all that we thought was gonna happen that hasn’t happened yet, but will happen, we wait,” prayed retired St. Matthews Episcopalian Reverend Scott Fisher.

For the first time, demonstrators directly called on Alaska Gov. Bill Walker to intervene. “We voted you in, we can easily vote you out,” one protester yelled.

George Frese’s cousin, Misty Nickoli, had a message for the Governor, “We the people are the state of Alaska, you simply represent us and you need to gather your people and do the right thing. Today.”

Walker’s Office released a statement saying he is considering pardoning the four men. If he does, it will take 120 days before it goes into effect.

If a judge rules in favor of the four, the men could be out in 10 days.

Supporters argue the terms of the settlement indicate justice is not the Department of Law’s first priority.

“I don’t know why they’re so concerned about money,” said Connie Sommer, who’s supported the four for the last 18 years. “They have fought this issue for so long and it stems down to money. We can’t take money with us anywhere when we leave this earth.”

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    The ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ folds its tent for good

    by CBS News on Apr 30, 10:12

    Faced with declining ticket sales, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus — after juggling the numbers as best it could — is staging its final performance two weeks from today … which means that for anyone wanting to take one last look, there’s no time to lose. Lee Cowan reports: “Ladies and Gentleman, […]

  • Lifestyle

    Facebook acknowledges election manipulation

    by CBS News on Apr 29, 18:07

    Without saying the words “Russia,” “Hillary Clinton,” or “Donald Trump,” Facebook acknowledged Thursday for the first time what others have been saying for months. In a paper released by its security division, the company said “malicious actors” used the platform during the 2016 presidential election as part of a campaign “with the intent of harming […]

  • There’s a celestial trick to the latest postal stamp

    by CBS News/Associated Press on Apr 29, 18:04

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The U.S. Postal Service is going all out for this summer’s total solar eclipse, with a first-of-its kind stamp. Just touch the stamp with your finger, and the heat transforms the image of the blacked-out sun into the moon. Remove your finger, and the eclipse reappears. The trick is using temperature-sensitive […]

  • Lifestyle

    Citywide Cleanup Week begins in Anchorage

    by Eric Ruble on Apr 29, 18:02

    As temperatures in Southcentral warm, Anchorage’s snowpack is quickly dwindling. The melting snow leaves behind garbage – lots of it. For the forty-ninth year, Anchorage Citywide Cleanup Week aims to beautify the city before summer. The cleanup kicked off Saturday, with a particularly large group of volunteers picking up trash in Mountain View. “We haven’t […]

  • News

    12 hazing complaints since 2014 confirmed at Marine base

    by Associated Press on Apr 29, 17:42

    BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) – Officials at the Marine Corps’ training base in South Carolina say half of 24 hazing complaints investigated since 2014 have been confirmed. The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette reported Saturday that documents obtained through a public records request show the complaints involve all four of Parris Island’s training battalions. The […]

  • News

    China deports US citizen convicted of spying after 2 years in custody

    by CBS News on Apr 29, 17:33

    China has deported an American citizen who was convicted and sentenced on an espionage charge after she was held in custody for more than two years. A spokesman for the State Department confirmed to CBS News that the U.S. is aware Chinese authorities deported 45-year-old Sandy Phan-Gillis on Friday. The deportation follows a trial last […]

  • AST: Stolen weapon found in stolen car after pursuit

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 29, 17:06

    A report of a stolen car led troopers on a chase in Ninilchik Wednesday evening. Someone spotted the stolen car on the Sterling Highway and called it in. When troopers tried to stop the car, the driver refused and a pursuit ensued before coming to an end when the driver stopped the car on a […]

  • News

    Ice jam raising flood concern on Kuskokwim River

    by Melissa Frey on Apr 29, 16:39

    Many rivers in southern Alaska are in the process of breaking-up. The first ice jam reported this season could cause flooding near Red Devil. The Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center reported the ice jam on the Kuskokwim River Saturday. They say the ice broke free near Red Devil Friday night, but ice is still in place […]