One incredibly frustrating, heartbreaking, difficult reality about the murder of 1997 is that THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO KNOW WHO DID IT. One investigator after another has identified a small handful of people that have information about this case, and knows that there are others. There is a $35,000 reward for information. ANYONE with information can call Bill Oberly with the Innocence Project at 907-279-0454 and come forward anonymously or on the record, and PLEASE, PLEASE, if you or someone you know has information about the killing of John Hartman, DO come forward.
What the investigators continually hear from people with information is that they are afraid of retaliation or being labeled as snitches, most especially afraid of retaliation or hardship if they themselves end up in prison. Although their choice to remain silent is their choice to make, it is heartbreaking. In order for the Fairbanks Four to get a new trial, these people would HAVE to come forward.
Below, Eugene speaks to THEM. To people that have information in this case but choose to stay silent. Spread this letter everywhere you can, most especially to anyone you think it might apply to. Hopefully their heart is softened by Eugene’s plea and they are encouraged by his words of support.
Marvin Roberts gave an interview with Dan Bross of KUAC when the reward amount in this case was raised to $35,000. The radio show was brief, but here is the full audio, where Marvin talks about how he feels about his imprisonment and the movement to free him.
Marvin was wrongfully convicted in 1997, just over a year after he graduated as valedictorian of his class. If Marvin can feel blessed in prison, a short season away from the day that will mark his 15th year there, those of us who have the ability to read this, to sleep in a bed, to turn a door knob and walk out a door, to breathe the air and walk with the Earth beneath our feet, are surely blessed beyond belief.
A person always tells their own story best. We could write a thousand pages without expressing the simple truth as well as one short letter. George is not a particularly sentimental person, so I know it took a lot to write this.It never fails to humble and amaze me that all four of these men have faith that this experience was meant to be and will serve a larger purpose. I think it is hard for many of us to keep faith in a life with all our freedom and every advantage - that they have found strong faith in a relatively hopeless place is.....beautiful.
If this letter moves you, get out there, and spread the word!! There is a lot of power in the truth, it has a way of spreading far and wide when it is repeated!
Also (since George begins this letter teasing Kevin) it is probably a good time to clarify that Kevin is Outside Indian and White, not Alaska Native. We have been asked about that a few times, and although it is not terribly important, thought this would be a good time to clarify for readers that Eugene, Marvin, and George are all Alaska Native, that Kevin is Native American and white.
Want to help bring George home? Sign our petition – click HERE!
It is wonderful to receive two things at once when each serves to illuminate the other. Today we had one angry comment that these guys are “drunks” who should “rot in jail like they deserve” and one letter from Marvin, who has every reason to be bitter, but is instead humbled, faithful, hopeful, forgiving, and grateful. Please remember that all four of these guys do not have to rot in jail. All of them could be out and free if at critical points they had taken a deal, or even as recently as this fall, agreed to express remorse instead of innocence at a parole hearing. They have chosen, at great personal cost, to stand behind the truth because it is right, and despite their experiences are united in their faith that they will some day be exonerated and free, that God has a plan for them.
The stamp on the letters that come from Marvin (pictured above) say “Correspondence originated from a correctional facility. Facility not responsible for substance or contents.”
It is a poignant label. The content originates from Marvin’s heart, and despite his years locked up in facilities, the substance remains courage and truth. Marvin’s letter scanned better and is quite readable – here it is. We will type it out soon, but wanted to get it out today, as he provides some insight into how we respond in our hearts when hate comes our way.