Fairbanks Four

Chief retracts statement settlement was due to political pressure and vindicates police, prosecutors

By Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Fairbanks city police chief has apologized for statements made last week about the legal settlement that vacated the long contested murder convictions of the Fairbanks Four, the Native men who served 18 years in prison for the 1997 beating death of John Hartman. Chief Randall Aragon also committed to further investigation of the case.

Legislative Council votes to drop lease on costly downtown office

By the Associated Press

Lawmakers are a step closer to moving out of office space in Anchorage that costs $4 million a year to lease.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the Legislative Council voted Saturday to recommend the lawmakers pull funding for the lease, while also carving out 45 days to negotiate a competitive purchase price.

The $4 million renovated space had previously cost $680,000 to lease.

By Joaqlin Estus, with assistance from Tim Ellis, KUAC – Fairbanks

Yesterday, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, Superior Court judge Paul Lyle approved a deal vacating the convictions of four men in the 1997 murder of John Hartman. In return, the Fairbanks Four promised not to sue the city of Fairbanks or the state of Alaska over the investigation and prosecution that led to their convictions, which they have long disputed.

By Zachariah Hughes, APRN – Anchorage

The State court heard oral arguments yesterday [Wed., Dec. 16, 2015] in a case involving the contentious lease of the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage. The case's plaintiff, Jim Gottstein, owns the building next to the LIO and alleges financial improprieties in the lease agreement between law-markers and the property's landlord, which could invalidate the space's 10-year lease. Gottstein also argues that as a whistleblower, he should be compensated 10 percent of what's saved if the lease is terminated.

By the Associated Press

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is considering granting pardons to the Fairbanks Four, who have been serving time for the 1997 death of a teenager. The pardon would be the first issued in nearly a decade.  Under state law, the governor is required to first notify the state parole board for investigative work. The board also notifies victims of certain crimes, such as domestic violence and first-degree arson.


Alaska high school graduation rates among the lowest in the nation

Fairbanks Four verdict months away

By the Associated Press

Four men who claim they were wrongly convicted of killing Fairbanks teenager John Hartman in 1997 won't hear the outcome of their most recent trial for several months. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the post-conviction relief trial for the so-called "Fairbanks Four" has wrapped up. The four sued the state based on new information that says another group of students beat Hartman. They also cite the recantation of a key witness.


Oct. 30, 2015

Lawmakers: TransCanada buyout likely, but is state ready?

State witnesses take the stand in Fairbanks Four case

By Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The state has begun calling witnesses in the Fairbanks Four evidentiary hearing now in its fourth week. Witnesses so far were summoned by attorneys representing exoneration petitioners George Frese, Kevin Pease, Marvin Roberts, and Eugene Vent. Now the focus has shifted to witnesses offered by state lawyers trying to uphold the men’s convictions for the murder of John Hartman.

Anchorage officials call Spice drug crisis ‘unsustainable’

By Zacharia Hughes, Alaska Public Radio Network

Wednesday, Anchorage officials told Assembly members spice-related incidents are creating an unsustainable burden on emergency responders in the city.

Fire Chief Dennis LeBlanc says there have been days this month when almost half of all emergency transports are spice-related [48%], and additional vehicles had to be called in from Eagle River to respond.

KNBA Newscast for October 20, 2015

Talking about suicide is key

By Lori Townsend, APRN