Below is a detailed timeline of Eugene’s motions on the evening of October 10th and early morning hours of October 11th. John Hartman was assaulted at 1:30am. Through a series of bizarre events, Eugene becomes a suspect at about 4:30am. You can read a timeline of John Hartman’s night HERE.
Eugene Spent the evening getting drunk with friends of his from school at a house party. He made his way from the house party to the last bit of a wedding reception at the Eagle’s Hall, and eventually continued partying into the early morning hours at the Alaska Motor Inn.
10:00 pm – Eugene gets a ride with Christy Moses, who drives Eugene, Kevin Pease, and several others to Kevin Bradley’s house off of Chena Small Tracts. Since the van was full, he left his friend Daniel behind at his house. A very small decision, but one Eugene says still haunts him. Of course at he has no idea as he heads to the party that this night will change his life. Kevin Bradley’s parents are out of town, and he is throwing a house party. The drive from downtown to the Chena Small Tracts home takes them 20 minutes or so.
10:30 pm – The group arrives at the house party. There are a dozen or so people drinking and partying at Kevin Bradley’s house, including Joey Shank. They listen to music, drink, drink, and drink for the next several hours.
1:30 am – Joey Shank, who was the only person not drinking at the house party and was the designated driver, says he left Kevin Bradley’s house at about this time with Eugene Vent, Kevin Pease, and a group of other friends (Shawna, Allen, Dana, and Nathan). He is driving a blue Nissan owned by Kevin Bradley’s parents. He takes the Johansen to the College Road Exit, then takes the Wendell Street Bridge toward the Eagles’s Hall.
1:50 am – Joey Shank arrives at the Eagles Hall. Joey Shank says he remembers the timeframes because he was nervous, sober, and conscious of the time. He was driving a car packed like sardines full of drunk teenagers, and the car belonged to Kevin Bradley’s mother, who was out of town. Once there they only stay for a few minutes – long enough to figure out that Conan, who they had hoped to meet there, was not at the reception.
1:55 am – After Dana determines that Conan isn’t at the reception, the group all jumps back in the car. Eugene hopped in the front seat even though Kevin had called shotgun, so Kevin got Eugene to move and Kevin rode in the front, Eugene squeezed in with the rest in the back. They left to drive to Conan Goebel’s house.
2:05 am – The group arrives at the Goebel Residence, but Conan isn’t home. Shawna Goebel, Kevin Pease, Eddie, and Nathan get out at the Goebel house. Joey Shank drives the rest of his passengers (Eugene Vent, Shara, and Allen) back to the Eagle’s Hall.
2:15 am (approx) – Eugene attends the reception. The band at the wedding reception was supposed to stop playing at 2 but the audience takes a collection and pays the band to keep going. Eugene spends some time dancing and mingling with the crowd at the reception.
2:50-3:00 am (approximately) Eugene and others leave the wedding reception sometime near 3 am and head to the Alaska Motor Inn to continue partying in room 107. There is a small group of core people there, and others are trickling in and out. The party is making a lot of noise, and the frustrated hotel clerk Mike Baca tries unsuccessfully to break it up. He calls the police to report the loud underage drinkers, but they do not respond. They are, of course, very busy with a rash of crimes, including the recently discovered assault victim John Hartman.
4:19 am – Alaska Motor Inn Clerk Mike Baca calls 911 and reports that he has had a confrontation with the young partiers, who refused to quiet down or leave. Eventually, he says that he maced a few of them after one pulled a gun on him. In reality, he did mace at least one of the kids, but no one had a gun. He made that up, hoping the police would respond immediately and break up the loud party. The police do respond within minutes, and the kids from the party scatter, running off to avoid getting in trouble for underage consumption of alcohol. Among those running are Conan Goebel, Gilbert Frank, Harley Semekan, and others.
4:30 am – Police catch one of the kids that fled the Alaska Motor Inn Party – Eugene Vent. They find him at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Barnette. They tackle him violently and arrest him for minor consuming. Although he is unarmed and shows no signs of having been maced, they think he may be the gunman from the hotel clerk’s report.
4:40 am – (approximately) The police drive Eugene to the Alaska Motor Inn and have clerk Mike Baca look into the back of the squad car at Eugene Vent, and ask him if Eugene is the gunman. Baca identifies Eugene as the gunman (although it was soon learned that there was no gunman). While they are there, they show Mike Baca a picture of John Hartman’s clothing and ask the clerk if John Hartman had also been at the party in room 107. Mike Baca says he is “sure” that there was a kid there in those clothes (it is determined within a day that John Hartman was not there, and that Mike Baca once again was falsely reporting).
5:00 am – Eugene’s questioning begins as soon as he was arrested, but begins in earnest sometime around 5:00 am. He is processed at Fairbanks Youth Facility, where he registers a blood alcohol level of .168, a level known to indicate extreme intoxication and blackouts, confusion, disorientation, difficulty walking, slurred speech, and a myriad of other symptoms. He is interrogated into the late afternoon.
Eugene’s interrogation lasts, with a few breaks, approximately eleven hours. You can read about the interrogation and read transcripts of the interrogation HERE
Four young men doing four different things in totally different places that night. Witnesses place them in completely different locations. They were not together. And yet, the State’s attorney, with the complicity of the Fairbanks detectives, concocts a story that puts them all together as though they were a pack of wolves; a gang driving around Fairbanks looking for prey. It is a story unsupported by a single fact and so far-fetched that any reasonable person would immediately dismiss it as impossible. That the juries in this case did not dismiss it has much to do with their willingness to see Alaska Natives as somehow uncivilized and dangerous. The only thing linking three of these young men was their Native blood; Kevin Pease was linked by association.
Juries are never given a full picture; only those facts that the prosecution and defense wish to bring before them. It isn’t surprising then, that the juries were presented with a different reality than what actually happened that night. They heard bits and pieces. They immediately accepted the premise that the four boys were together. By combining the trials, the State reinforced this notion. The magnitude of the deceit by the State’s attorney can be demonstrated by the fact that the charge of sexual assault was not eliminated from the prosecution of the case even though the forensic autopsy showed no signs of sexual assault. The original hysteria created by the idea that this boy was not only beaten up, but had then been sexually assaulted, was carried into the trial even though the State’s own pathologist refuted that story. And still the State’s attorney did no follow up investigation to determine why John Hartman was found wearing his companion’s much too large pants…the circumstance that led to the initial erroneous conclusion that John was found with his pants around his knees because he had been sexually assautled.
Nobody drew timelines for the juries giving them a complete picture of what happened that night and when; instead they had disjointed bits and pieces of information. But the State’s attorney and the police department did have that information and one can only conclude that they deliberately chose to ignore it in their prosecution of these young men.
Prayers for all four!
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