• 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 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

  • Politics

    Immigration law experts react to SCOTUS decision on travel ban

    by Steffi Lee on Jun 26, 20:40

    The Supreme Court of the United States will hear full arguments on President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries while letting parts of it go into effect. The decision came down Monday. It impacts foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In the 9-0 ruling, justices will not allow the ban […]

  • Politics

    Impasse on oil tax bill stalls special session

    by Liz Raines on Jun 26, 20:33

    Lawmakers are still in special session, but only a handful are in Juneau. The capitol building will likely stay empty for the rest of the week, perhaps longer. That’s because Gov. Bill Walker has only put one item on the agenda– and it isn’t the one either side wanted. Lawmakers were expecting to take up […]

  • News

    Klatt Road roundabout design concerns some drivers

    by Heather Hintze on Jun 26, 17:54

    Drivers in South Anchorage are learning to navigate a new roundabout. Alaska Department of Transportation crews spent more than one month constructing a new traffic circle at the intersection of West Klatt Road and Johns Road. Some people took to social media to voice their complaints about the roundabout’s design, saying the concrete barriers in […]

  • News

    State gets approval for survey work for Cold Bay roadway

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 26, 17:49

    Governor Walker announced Monday the state has received permission to begin survey work that could lead to a road between King Cove and Cold Bay. Walker said he got a personal phone call Monday morning from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting him know the state could begin survey work to seek a route with the […]

  • News

    2 Marines badly burned in ground flash fire on U.S. base

    by CBS News on Jun 26, 15:13

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. — A ground flash fire on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar injured two Marines performing aircraft maintenance on an F/A-18 Sunday night, base officials say. The region has been experiencing extremely high temperatures, notes CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV. “Both Marines are currently being treated for severe burns at […]

  • News

    Duck pond at Cuddy Park is much cleaner

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 26, 13:50

    A “Don’t Feed the Birds” campaign seems to be making a difference when it comes to the duck pond at Cuddy Park. Thom Eley with the Anchorage Waterways Council said levels of fecal coliform, the bacteria that comes from bird feces, is normally sky-high this time of year, but two recent tests show the levels […]

  • Man wanted for failing to appear on assault charge

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 26, 13:47

    A 19-year-old man is wanted by Anchorage Police for failing to appear in court. Dominik Lacell Spivey has an outstanding warrant for failure to appear related to an assault charge from last March. Spivey is described as 5-foot-10, weighing 170 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. If you have information on his whereabouts, you’re asked […]

  • Humpback whale breaches super-close to boat off NJ coast

    by CBS News on Jun 26, 13:22

    A New Jersey man videotaped a humpback whale surging out of the water right alongside his small fishing boat last week, and the footage has gone viral. The whale showed up in the waters just a mile or so off the northern coast of New Jersey. Paul Ziolkowski, of Union Beach, caught the moment on […]