The Truth About Courage – Marvin’s Interrogation

If you live to be 100 and half as many people have half as many nice things to say about you as the people who lived alongside Marvin for his short 17 free years, you could be proud of your legacy. His supporters are remarkably confident in his nature, and adamant that he could have never committed such a senseless act of violence. And if Marvin’s interrogation is a window into his character, it is easy to see why he suffers from an abundance of supporters.

Marvin, unlike the other accused, was not intoxicated the night of October 12, 1997, and was not intoxicated at the time of his interview. His state of mind was likely clearer, and it would have been much harder to cast doubt into his mind about his movements that night. Clearly, he had advantages that the others did not, and in many ways the differences between the interrogations help us to understand the difference between confronting this type of pressure in a weakened state versus a strong state.

Marvin’s interrogation transcripts tell his story perfectly and need little introduction, except to say that much like in Eugene’s interrogation, the police were relentless. They lied. They tried every angle. Many, perhaps most, men falter when they are tested to such a degree. Marvin did not.


“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”  – Mark Twain

10 thoughts on “The Truth About Courage – Marvin’s Interrogation

  1. A couple years ago i read all the transcripts from the interrogation when the UAF students researched it. I found it obvious that they were pressured and tricked into weak confessions. I thought to myself if I was hung over or still half shot and jttery how it would feel to have an officer/detective grilling you. I found Marvin to be obviously innocent and the others seemed confused.

    I don’t see how it could be more obvious that these four are innocent.

    • None of these four would have been found guilty in South Africa as their confessions were extracted and their were no independent corroborating evidence (physical). South Africa has a long history of so-called 3rd degree interrogations and our courts wasted no time throwing any suspected coerced confessions or statements out as inadmissible. As 28 year experienced investigator / interviewer I can tell you that a so-called confession harvested using the Reid Technique would not pass our legal scrutiny as a “statement that is voluntary, without any undue influence or coercion”. The biggest problem I have with the Reid Technique is the pre-judgement and assumption of guilt in an attempt to secure a confession. This defies the definition of investigation: To collect the facts (truth) to proof or dis-proof a suspicion (eliminate suspects from investigation). Several steps of the Reid Technique (especially Step 2) suggest the interviewer may be deceptive towards the suspect. I have countless confessions every month (year in and year out) in very serious matters and will NEVER lie or try to deceive my suspect EVER. They need to trust you and know that you are reasonable and professional at all times.

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  5. I grew up in with marvins sister sharon and all of his family. I remember marvin being the sweetest young man and always being so friendly to others. I’ve always believed in his innocense. I pray that they are freed.

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