Marvin Roberts testifies at ongoing Fairbanks Four hearing

Another one of Fairbanks men seeking exoneration from murder convictions has testified to his innocence.

Marvin Roberts is the last of the so-called Fairbanks Four, to address the court in an ongoing hearing to reconsider the 18-year-old case in light of new evidence.

Testimony closes out the petitioner’s side of the case with state witnesses now taking to the stand.

Marvin Roberts, George Frese, Kevin Pease and Eugene Vent were convicted of the October 1997 fatal beating 15-year-old John Hartman on a downtown Fairbanks Street.

The men, who were 20 or younger when arrested, following a night of partying, have testified during this month’s post-conviction relief hearing that they were scared and confused when police pinned the Hartman assault on them.

“I trusted police officers, and I took what they said at full, value up until they started accusing me of doing violent things,” Roberts said, addressing the court Friday.

Roberts, who unlike the others maintains he wasn’t drunk, outlines a night that included driving around the city with friends, but not Frese, Pease or Vent, and he additionally denies being at the scene of the Hartman attack, an issue state attorney Adrienne Bachman pressed him on.

Bachman: “I’m asking you whether you walked away from your car when you were at 9th and Barnette.”
Roberts: “I drove by 9th and Barnette.”
Bachman: “And you didn’t stop and get out?”
Roberts: “No.”

Bachman and other state attorneys are defending the original jury convictions of the Fairbanks Four, and will be going on the offensive this week as state witnesses are called. They include alternate Hartman attack suspect, Jason Wallace.

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