When people first appraoch the story of the Fairbanks Four they are inevitably left with many questions. If there is one thing that inspires the most theories, emails, and conversations, it is the role that Chris Stone played in the investigation and the fateful evening that John Hartman was killed. Read a timeline of that night and the puzzling role Stone played in it HERE.
There have been tremendous inconsistencies in his statements over the years. In his last media interview he ultimately stated that anything could have happened that night, that he remembered it like a bad dream, all a “blur.”
In the last few days we have been innundated with emails asking about his role, the inconsistencies, and a lot of offers to contact him directly. We ask that supporters of the Fairbanks Four be suportive of the official effort by Alaska Innocence Project to exonerate the four and do not contact Chris Stone or his family, but leave that if or when it becomes necessary to the legal experts working hard on this case. That said, we understand the desire to reach out and have decided to make an open and lasting request of Chris Stone directly here on this post. If any reader knows him, please pass this along with kindness.
How to begin? Let us begin by saying that we believe in you. That we understand that you were only a kid in 1997, and that clearly life was hard on you. That the story about your life that came out of all of the pages and pages and pages of interviews and trial transcripts and newspaper articles – it was a sad story. That we are sorry about that.
We sorry you were hurt. By people that were close to you, by strangers, by a lot of people. We are sorry that you lost things. Childhood, innocence, time, freedom, your friend. We are sorry that you were scared, by police, by bad people that hurt you, by proximity to a murder, by a beating, by a world that can be harsh.
Sometimes life throws hard things your way for a reason. We don’t know why life was so hard on you, we don’t know how our paths crossed with yours, and we don’t know the higher purpose, but this much is clear – you know a lot of loss, of betrayal, of pain, and of fear. You know a lot more than a person your age should know about suffering. So did many of us, so do the four men in prison, and that is where our compassion for you comes from. You have suffered greatly, which means that you have an incredible capacity for compassion. That you understand what it is to suffer, and that someday, hopefully some day very soon, what will rise from all of your suffering is compassion is bravery, courage, and a willingness to stop suffering in this world when you can.
It seems – it has always seemed – that you know more about what happened to your friend John Hartman than you have ever said. It haunts other people, you know, troubles their sleep, this idea that you might hold a key – that you might know or suspect who really killed your friend. John’s mother, in her nightmares you stood between her and her knowing who had hurt her son. Marvin’s mom, George’s mom, Kevin;s mom, Eugene’s mom – you are in their dreams too. You are in the dreams they have when someone comes forward and reveals the truth about this case. You are the hero of those dreams, when their sons are set free, when John Hartman is finally allowed to rest in peace because his true killers are behind bars.
You are in the thoughts of Marvin, Kevin, Eugene, and George as well. You are in the thoughts and prayers of them and those that love them. You are in the thoughts and prayers of many people, and we pray this – that if, as it seems, you know more than you have said, that someday these prayers will reach you, heal you, give you courage. That you understand that you were forgiven long ago. That many people believe in you, believe you will come forward someday, and wait for the gift of truth from you.
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…..not going all the way, and not beginning.”
Only you know your truth, only you know if you made any mistake, and if you did if it was the mistake of not beginning or not going all the way. But please, if it is within your power, be the hero of this situation. We KNOW that the truth will someday set Marvin, Kevin, Eugene, and George free, from their prisons of concrete and barbed wire. But concrete and barbed wire cannot prevent the love and faith of many from reaching them, and in some ways we understand your prison is colder, lonelier. The prison that you live in is a different kind of prison, but we think the truth could set you free from your cage as well. Until that day, please just remember that we have waited a long time, we will wait as long as we need to, but even if you don’t believe in yourself, we do. And when you come forward we will be grateful and proud.
You can call Bill Oberly at the Alaska Innocence Project anytime at 907-279-0454. You can write a letter, send an email, send a facebook message – do anything you like. We hope and believe you will.
Many thousands of people still believing in you and the innocence of the Fairbanks Four