FBX 4 witnesses recall aggressive police questioning

People who say they were with the Fairbanks Four the night of John Hartman’s 1997 murder, recount aggressive questioning by police trying to build a case against the men.

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The witnesses, who were also teenagers at the time George Frese, Keven Pease, Marvin Roberts and Eugene Vent were arrested for beating the 15-year-old Hartman, took to the stand yesterday at a month long hearing being held to determine if the four convicted of the crime are in fact innocent.

Conan Goebel recalled being questioned by former Fairbanks Police Detective Aaron Ring about downtown partying the night of the Hartman killing.

“He was trying to fabricate something that wasn’t true.”

Goebel said the conversation with Ring deteriorated and the detective ended the tape recorded interview.

“He turned it off. He looked right at me, and he said, ‘If you don’t tell me what I need to hear, then I’m going to make sure that you get arrested for this as well.'”

State prosecution team attorney Ally Rahoi questioned Goebel’s accounting of his conversation with Ring by referring to interview transcript passages Goebel did not recall.

“Safe to say that your memory’s not so clear about what went on in the interview? Rahoi asks.

“It was a long time ago, so it’s safe to say that certain parts I don’t remember. Other parts I do.”

Goeble and most other witnesses called by Lawyers representing the Fairbanks Four offered vague timelines placing the four at other locations when Hartman was beaten. The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer reports that one witness, Garreth Edwin said he clearly remembers Marvin Roberts’ presence at a wedding reception at the estimated time of the Hartman attack.

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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