True Murderer Comes Forward – A Letter from William Holmes

story1We have a long tradition of letting people tell their own story.

Today, the Innocence Project walked into the courthouse and filed a motion for Post Conviction Release on behalf of George Frese, Eugene Vent, Marvin Roberts, and Kevin Pease. These men have maintained their innocence for almost sixteen years, and today definitive evidence of their innocence has been made public.

This court motion contained a lot of information – testimony by experts that George’s boot did NOT match the wounds on the victim, proof that Arlo Olson lied, proof that it would be scientifically impossible for someone to have seen what he claimed. But, the most important thing it contained, in our view, is a story. A handwritten confession, by a man named William Z. Holmes who confesses in detail the murder of John Hartman.

We have said many times that we believe people can feel the truth, see it, sense it, recognize it. And that is why we believe so strongly in the power of truth told by those who hold it. We believe the best we can do to help any injustice is to make a space where people can tell their truth. There will be plenty of articles, news, updates, and headlines about this case today, we will let them fill their purpose, and fill ours.

With that in mind, below is the handwritten confession of William Z. Homes. We will let that stand alone for today. You can judge for yourselves if it is the truth. We believe it is.

We believe in redemption. That anyone can do all they are able to change themselves during their time upon this Earth and that no matter how dark or low a place life takes us to that we can still seek light. So, we publish this with a great sadness for the heartbreaking manner in which John Hartman died, but also a hope for the individuals who did kill him, and every single one of those who helped to hide the truth and further lies, that they may use this time to come forward and begin what must be a very long journey toward redemption.

This day could have never come without the faith, hope, and hard work of many, and we thank you all. Our journey to justice is far from over, but today we begin a walk down a new road.

This is a sad story. Listen, listen.


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Love Gonna Bust Me Out – A Letter from Kevin

Kevin has spent many years in silence. In the early media reports in  and in the press coverage throughout the trials Kevin was relentlessly attacked, more so than the others. The police pushed this media agenda, because in their theory they considered him the ringleader.  It was amazing in a way to watch it unfold – to watch him remain quiet and outwardly calm while his world crumbled around him. Steady.

After his conviction, many people stood behind his claim of innocence, but none as strongly or courageously as his mom, the late Carol Pease. He is pictured with her here. It is hard to imagine the grief that Kevin has had to live with. He lost his father a short time before being wrongfully accused, and his mother shortly after his wrongful conviction, all as a very young person. Yet, amazingly, through all of this his faith remains strong.

In this post, Kevin tells his own story. Like with the other letters, the truth in his words is palpable. Painfully clear. Facts, documents, transcripts, legal opinions, and the like abound in this case, and they all back up the claim that these men are innocent.  Still, nothing makes that statement as poignantly than the truth in their own words. Here they are:

PLEASE, if you or ANYONE you know has information about the case call, write, email or do anything you like, just do the right thing. The best person to bring new information and tips to is Bill Oberly at the Innocence Project in Anchorage – 907-279-0454. His email is and tips can be made anonymously.

If you were involved in any way in this case, please consider coming forward today and submitting your OWN story. These pieces build a picture together, and each piece is important. Contact US on the Facebook page.

HATE, indeed, put these men in prison, and LOVE will set them free someday. YOUR LOVE, courage, and support, to be specific. So keep it coming!!! Sign the petition, join us on Facebook, and spread, spread, spread the word. We send these pages back to the boys, so feel free to add a comment for Kevin below.

“When Are You Coming Home?” – A Letter from George

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!

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

A better question might be who’s afraid of the big bad wolf pack?

The corruption in this case runs very deep. So deep that there is no point in denying that there is a large range of potential risks in writing about some of it publicly. Every stone that is turned over in researching this case reveals more and more indications of corruption, some on the part of common criminals, some on the part of those that we should be most able to trust – police officers, attorneys, and judges. And the idea of making any of them too angry is, well, scary.

But the truth in this case is that fear was used like a tool to repress many people. A lack of courage on the part of many was required for justice to be so far miscarried. In this climate, the courage of some is all the more astounding. The earliest truth-tellers in this situation are people to be admired. It seems simple enough to just tell the truth, but as Orwell said, “In times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes of revolutionary act.” It was scary to stand up then, and many didn’t.

There is a quote so often repeated that it is hard to find its original source – “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” It is a powerful idea, and one that applies here. Many, many, many people did not come forward as alibis, or as informants to the actual perpetrators while this case was active because they were afraid. It is understandable, it was a terrifying time, but to move forward we must let go of that fear. Many good people did nothing when this case occurred. That is the past, and we must learn from it, but we must also let it remain the past and walk bravely into a new future.

So, here is a new quote to for a new era:

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.”  – Gandhi

We possess a power greater than those that oppose us because we act from love. On that note, here are some of the highlights of corruption in this case. Sadly, this is the tip of the iceberg:

When the labwork came back and there was NO physical evidence against the Fairbanks Four, the investigators did not pursue other leads. They went “shopping” for jailhouse snitches. One was a woman who claims that she overheard an incriminating statement while she was in jail at FCC the same time as the four. Even though male and female inmates are separated even in general population. Even though the four were being held in isolation, where they made comments of any nature to absolutely no one. The star witness was a man who received leniency in his own crimes (and whose criminal record would make you sick) who agreed to testify that he had seen the four together. From 550 feet away. In the dark. Drunk. High on drugs. Standing with a group of people, some who were sober, who saw nothing. (To be fair, perhaps he got into radioactive goo or something as a child and has super powers).

In the absence of any physical evidence to take to trial, Detective Aaron Ring and Prosecutor Jeffery O’Bryant got together in their hotel room and made some. Don’t bother reading that sentence twice, you did indeed read it right the first time. With young men’s entire FUTURES at stake men sworn to uphold justice, to serve and protect us all, made exhibits for court during a hasty craft hour held in their hotel room. They took a lab-made ink print of George’s boot that was printed on clear overhead type paper. They selected a few slides that did not show all of the tread. They then layed it over a photo of John Hartman’s face. The photo had no scale. It was scientific garbage, but the lab logo would lead the average person to see it as legitimate. With no scale, a picture can be adjusted until its size roughly corresponds with any shoe. The exhibit was not made by a forensic lab, but by a police officer and prosecutor in their hotel room.

In an affidavit filed by John Cayton, the forensic expert the defense employed at the trial, filed post-trial, Mr. Cayton calls the exhibit “extremely misleading,” “troubling,” a “misrepresentation,” and states that, after repeatedly asking the defense attorney for a chance to review the evidence (remember, the defense attorney should have WANTED his expert informed), he was eventually told to get it directly from Aaron Ring, who sent poor quality copies and copies without any scale.

George’s first attorney, Bob Downes, made some other remarkable choices during trial. In addition to not supplying the expert the information he would have needed to testify properly, he did not call any of George’s alibis as witnesses. He also DID NOT OBJECT to the homemade bogus boot exhibit.

Bob Downes had worked with the prosecutor, Jeffery O’Bryant in the past, and knew him personally. After the trial was lost Bob Downes became a judge. He used Jeffery O’Bryant as a reference, and got the job. You can read his application/resume HERE.

No other suspects were investigated. Even though John Hartman’s brother had received a phone call warning him that his brother might be in danger the same night that he was killed. Even though Chris Stone, the person last seen alive with the victim, had astounding inaccuracies in his statement. Even though the victim was found wearing his pants. Even though he had suffered a similar beating a few weeks earlier and had refused to name his assailants. Even though there was never ever any evidence that any of the accused knew the victim or would have had any reason to harm him. Even though Chris Stone left a disturbing message for a friend that night, even though that friend asked police to get a copy, even though she went to the police station that day to make a statement that she thought Chris Stone was not being honest. EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE.

All interrogations in Alaska are required by law to be taped. George insists, and Crystal Sisto also insists, that his interrogation began long before a tape recorder came on. Read transcripts of the interrogation HERE and decide if that seems to be the case. You can also read the post about his interrogation HERE.

Eugene Vent was a minor and had the right to have a parent present. They told him that, but read about his interrogation HERE and ask yourself if they really believed he had understood all of his rights.

There is no recorded Blood Alcohol Level for George Frese on record anywhere. Interesting, considering that he had drank beer and liquor all night, hard liquor all morning and into the afternoon. Unusual, since it seems that an intoxicated underage patient would typically have a blood alcohol test. It makes you wonder… there a blood alcohol content at which a person must receive medical treatment and cannot be interrogated? Is there a blood alcohol content at which a person is considered legally incompetent and their statements could be voided? If there was one taken, how did it disappear?

The key players in this case received serious promotions following the “successful” outcome. These boys made the list of his notable accomplishments when Jeffery O’Bryant’s promotion to Fairbanks District Attorney was announced. Check that out HERE

Add to that the MANY PAGES of details that we will need time to write down. Add to that controversies that we are still afraid to write down. Add to that corruption we have not unearthed. And add this final quote to your mind for times when you want to blend into the flock because you are afraid:

“Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you.” Benjamin Franklin

There are many people in our community who know who committed this crime and have remained quiet out of fear. To you we say, muster your courage. Put your faith in the idea that to act from love gives you great power. Remember that fear does not make you safe, it makes you sheep. And the wolves are out there.