“Time” – A Letter from Eugene

Human beings can feel honesty. Which is why this post is so important. There is much information about this case available. Transcripts, trials, interrogations, articles, and the like. And in those, you have to search for the truth. But in Eugene’s own words you can feel the truth. Not because he is the next great American novelist, not because he reaveals shocking new information, but simply because he is telling his story and you can sense that it is honest.

This case is complex and the details can be overwhelming. Because Eugene’s letter is specific to his night, here is some background for reference:

Eugene Vent left a a party at the Alaska Motor Inn on foot when the police were called by the hotel clerk. The hotel clerk had called repeatedly to ask police to break up a loud party in one of the rooms. They were slow to respond. So slow, in fact, that the clerk was eventually so frustrated that he called and falsely reported that one of the party goers had pulled a gun on him. The police responded immediately, and the kids at the party took off on foot. They caught one of them several blocks away – Eugene Vent. They then drove Eugene to the hotel clerk and asked him if he could identify Eugene as the gunman. He did. They also showed him a photograph of the clothes that John Hartman, now fading in ICU, had been found wearing a earlier in the night and asked the clerk if he recognized the clothes. He said that he did, and that the kid wearing them had been one of the partiers at the hotel.

Ultimately, all of those things were false. John  Hartman had not been at the Alaska Motor Inn that night (Read about his last night HERE). No one pulled a gun on the clerk, that story was a lie. The clerk did recant his statements about the gun reasonably quickly, but it was too late. His identification of Eugene as a gunman created suspicion in the police that Eugene may have been involved with the assault on John Hartman, and over the course of eleven hours police aggressively interrogated Eugene until he eventually made incriminating statements about himself and the three others. (Read Eugene’s Interrogation HERE).

There is a lot of information about this case out there. Transcripts, articles, news stories, interrogations, interviews, timelines, blogs, websites, and the like. But sadly absent from all of that information is the voice of the four young men to whom the cost of this case has been so real. Anyone can take many things from you against your will, including your freedom. But they cannot take your voice and they cannot take the away the truth.          No one can take your story. Below is Eugene’s story, written this October from the Hudson Correctional Facility:

“Time is what I took for granted early on in my life. I made decisions based on the fact that I would have plenty of time. On the October 10, 1997 I left my family to go drink alcohol with my friends from school. I drank beer, drank hard liquor, and even smoked marijuana. I attended a house party, a wedding reception, and last but not least… an Alaska Motor Inn party.

At this party there was a lot of noise and the clerk did his job by telling us to leave. We refused, and this clerk called the police before an altercation eventually developed in which this clerk sprayed my friend with mace.Immediately following this the police showed up; I chose to run…as did everybody else. My thoughts were I cannot get caught drinking again and that I could make it home without getting caught. Boy, was I wrong.

I got apprehended a few blocks away. But then things took a turn for the worst. The clerk accused me of pulling a gun on him and I was charged with assault in the third degree. I never had a gun on me and I didn’t pull a gun on this man. Of course this man was caught on tape telling a coworker that he lied about the whole story to the police, resulting in a not-guilty verdict. Needless to say, the damage was done and it changed the course of not only my life but of countless others…

I was seventeen at the time. I registered a .168 blood alcohol level and I was taken to the youth facility. Police had a busy night with assaults, robberies, and a kid was in the hospital on life support. The police had a hunch that maybe I was involved in some of these crimes so they came to question me, especially since the clerk said I had a gun on me and he also identified the clothes of the kid on life support as having been at the hotel party with us. Of course, I made things worse for myself by being defiant and even lying to the detective. The Detective exercised tactics of interrogation on me including lies, lies, and more lies. After a few hours I was confused, not sure of myself and even afraid of these accusations.

I ultimately (falsely) admitted to participating in the assault of the kid, who I later learned was named John Hartman. I also implicated my three co-defendents Kevin, Marvin, and George during these interviews. I feel ashamed to this day for letting this happen, but I am the one it happened to so I am responsible for my actions.


The next few days were a nightmare, but I knew that in no possible way was I responsible for these terrible crimes……No possible way!!!! I pled not guilty to all charges and even the judge dismissed the charges only to see them reinstated by the Alaska Court of Appeals.

I refused a deal offered by the State Involuntary Manslaughter and robbery in which the State wanted me to lie against the other boys. I had no hesitation in saying “No”  and I went to trial July 1999.

The trial lasted almost a month, witness after witness, no DNA evidence, alibi witnesses…my expert in false confessions was not allowed to testify… I believe that ruling changed the whole Trial.

I was convicted of Murder, RobberyX2, and Sexual Assault…all this with no physical evidence. My admission hurt, and eyewitness testimony from 550 feet away sealed my fate.  I was sentenced to 38 years, and at my recent parole board hearing I maintained my innocence in front of a Board that had the power to release me. I received a continuance until 2014.

Through all this, I still believe that time will reveal the Truth and that the four of us will be cleared of these convictions. I will say this, I’ve heard many names over the last fourteen years; so I strongly believe that the efforts of our supporters will bring the real perpetrators to light. I am so blessed to have so many people on our side, I cannot say Thanks enough. So many names, thank you for never giving up on us and believing in our innocence. Time will tell all the Truth. Thanks so much!!!

Thank You,

Eugene Vent

10/17/2011″

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14 thoughts on ““Time” – A Letter from Eugene

  1. Thanks for sharing Eugene, my prayers for you and the others. Keep your faith in that the truth comes out andcontinue to look to your creator for strength and guidance. nothing is impossible when you give it to the Lord, no matter what the circumstances. The Lord is a miracle worker and he is keeping you throughout all this. Our Lord can cure cancer when professionals have given up.

  2. I am sittings here reading and praying, with tears streaming down my face, my heart goes out to each of you innocent men! BLESS YOU, MAY GOD BRING FREEDOM & JUSTICE TO EACH OF YOU! Please remember, when times are hard, frustrating, & lonely, think of the good times you had in life, your families, friends, homelife, hometowns & all those who will stand up for you until the day you are FREE, we will NEVER lose hope, PEACE be with you all ~

    • I keep going back to these thoughts & questions of WHY is Chris Stone is not being re-investigated? He being the last known person with John Hartman, NUMEROUS people stating that John had camilfage pants on when they last saw him, how he was found with Chris Sones pants on at the crime site, how Chris was in a panic @ the Foodland store STATING that John Hartman was assulted EVEN BEFORE he was found? He was high on numerous drugs and could have possible FREAKED OUT on John Hartman. I BELIEVE HE NEEDS TO BE RE-INVESTIGATED! What is the procedure on re-opening such a request?

      • We will eventually have a long post on him – there are a lot of issues with his stories through the year. The reason that the police will not reinvestigate these things is because they consider it a “closed case.”

  3. Keep them in your prayers, and spread word of their situation as far as you can. Once they have enough supporters we can have more successful fundraising events, petitions, protests, and all kinds of actions to help free them. One voice can do little, but thousands together can ask for anything. I believe, whole-heartedly, that the will be freed someday through the faith and persistence of those who know they are innocent.

  4. “Truth is the way” Maniilaq the prophet

    My mother’s grandmother Tiqitchauq sat in the circle when Maniilaq spoke and he said “truth is the way”. May god grant you four boys your freedom and let the truth be known. God bless.

  5. So, you believe you are innocent. I do not know what to believe myself, but from police records it is my Cuz Arlo. But he could not see anything, thanks to his awesome eyesight of that night. I even went to the crimesight and could not have Arlo’s ability of freak eyesight

  6. Your words will be passed on,,,keep your faith, our lord is by your side, and all will be right to the end….
    Matthew 11:28-30
    Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I wil give you rest.
    Take my yoke upon you and learn from ‘Me’ for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls
    “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” NKJV

  7. I am very sure that Eugene and Marvin had nothing to do with Frank Dayton getting beat up outside the wedding reception, and I am also sure all these young men were rail roaded into believing that their friends had turned on them. Reading all this information gets me very angry at our unfair justice system. I am almost sure also that if the young man that got beaten was under better supervision by his family that says they care so much would still be walking this earth with us all. I believe these young men were treated soooo derogitorily right from the start and that crap is so ugly in this day and age, don’t know if that treatment of us people will ever stop we just have to strong and not let anyone break us down. May justice come soon for these young men.

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  10. He should write a book. This story is probably even movie material. There really isn’t much justice in these unconstitutional courts of contract. They are all in the trust business, all Alaska courts and Police are listed as businesses on Dun and Bradstreet and are incorporated. The so-called judges are not Article III judges. They are blacked-robed Administrators of the Debt operating under the Administrative Procedures Act. The people are the debtors. Attorneys are in the business of attornment. They attorn the run-away slave back to the master, in this case, the State of Alaska. They supply the prisons with warm bodies to go with the legal fiction property they created and own, what you think is your identity. This identity belongs to them, the corporate government. And we foolishly keep voting them in again and again thinking one of them will make things right. But it just keeps getting worse doesn’t it. Because we have allowed the created to rule over the creators, the living People. They are all in this “human trafficing” business together. And most of them could care less if you are guilty or not. It’s all about profit and gain. They are all acting under “color of law”. It looks like Law but it isn’t. It’s corporate codes, privatized and copyrighted. Statutes are not Laws that apply to the living people. (Fournoy v. First National Bank of Shreveport, 197 La. 1067, 3 So. 2d 244, 248). We are not corporate entities created by the State, but our legal fiction NAMES (fictional “persons”) are. If there are good lawyers with a conscience out there, they probably don’t last long. Remember what happened to Nancy S. Bergeson? She was an Oregon federal defense Attorney going up against the IRS, who was found dead, murdered in front of her computer. So of course the case was lost. You would not believe just how corrupt the system is. But good luck anyway. I wish these boys the best. sa’

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