A man already serving a life sentence for murder has confessed to involvement in the 1997 murder of John Hartman.
William Holmes says he, along with Jason Wallace, Rashan Brown, Marquez Pennington and Shelmar Johnson, committed the murder, which four Fairbanks men have spent 15 years in prison for.
Marvin Roberts , Kevin Pease, George Frese and Eugene Vent were convicted of the crime, and many in the community have spent years trying to prove they were innocent.
A document filed today by attorneys for the Alaskan Innocence Project lays out new evidence of their innocence, including the confession by Holmes.
In his affidavit he says that on the night of the Hartman murder, he and the other four boys wanted to “go downtown and have some fun” by harassing “drunk natives”. He says that he and his friends had done this before, sometimes ganging up on people two or three at a time.
But instead they found a “white boy walking alone”. A male later identified as 15-year-old John Hartman.
“We got one,” Holmes says in his statement, written from a Northern California prison in August, 2012.
Holmes says that he didn’t witness the attack itself, but stayed in his mother’s Ford Tempo to be their getaway driver. He only found out what happened when the rest of the boys jumped back in the car. According to Holmes, “they all 3 simultaneously told me that upon knocking the boy to the ground, Wallace began stomping him repeatedly.”
Holmes is serving a life sentence for the Christmas Day, 2002 murders of Christopher Martin of Olympia, Washington, and former Fairbanks resident Hakeem Bryant. Wallace is serving a 75 year sentence for the 2003 murder of Teacka Bacote of Ester, Bryant's girlfriend.
Wallace implicated Holmes in the double murder of Bryant and Martin. Brown is serving a life prison term for an unrelated double homicide in Oregon. Pennington and Johnson are not in custody.
We’ll have much more on this story during the Fairbanks Evening News at 6 and Newscenter final at 11.