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…..is 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.