Alaska Innocence Project responds to State filing in Fairbanks Four case

FAIRBANKS- The Alaska Innocence Project has filed a response to the State in the post-conviction relief filing of the Fairbanks Four.

Bill Oberly, lead of the AK innocence project, agreed with the state to hold a hearing to present evidence; however, he noted that was all they found agreeable.

Oberly called the state's response a denial of claims further stating, "The State's Answer contains nothing more than innuendo, vague references to possible evidence and unsupported statements."

One of the most contentious issues contained in the filing was the alleged murder confession made by William Holmes, which the state found to be hearsay.

Oberly denied that claim saying Holmes was part of a conspiracy to knowingly commit a crime which makes hearsay claims false.

In the filing, he stated "Alaska Rules of Evidence provide that the statement of a co-conspirator is not hearsay."

The filing continued, "Immediately after having seen Jason Wallace stomp the life out of John Hartman, the description of this startling event was made while the declarants were under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition. The statements of Marquise, and the other two individuals in the backseat, are admissible evidence, excepted from the hearsay rule as excited utterances."

In an interview, Oberly told us, "The statement that William Holmes describes in his affidavit is NOT hearsay. They are the statements of co–conspirators and furtherance of a conspiracy and the conspiracy was, these guys went out to assault people."

In the filing, Oberly also attacked the state's claims that they had witnesses and other evidence to further support the Fairbanks Four convictions, which he outlined by noting the state's filing provided no names or further documentation that the court could reference.

The Alaska Innocence Project asked that hearing be held and the court consider all evidence to be heard at a new trial for the four men.