Alternate suspect Jason Wallace testifies at Fairbanks 4 hearing

A hearing to reconsider the murder convictions of the Fairbanks Four is beginning a fifth week.

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The marathon proceeding is to hear new testimony about the 1997 beating death of 15-year-old John Hartman in downtown Fairbanks, a crime George Frees, Kevin Pease, Marvin Roberts and Eugene Vent, were convicted of.

They’re requesting exoneration largely based on identification of alternate suspects, including former Fairbanks resident Jason Wallace.

Jason Wallace allegedly made self-incriminating statements in 2003 about the Hartman murder, before being tried for an unrelated drug killing.  More recently, former drug ring partner, William Holmes, who’s also serving time for other murders, confessed involvement in the Hartman attack, pinning the actual beating on Wallace.

Wallace has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying at the Fairbanks Four hearing, but on Friday under questioning by state attorney Adrienne Bachman, Wallace who was a high school student at the time of the attack, denied even knowing about it.

Bachman: “You lived in Fairbanks, AK in 1997?”

Wallace: “Yes, I did.”

Bachman: “How is it you didn’t hear about the John Hartman homicide?”

Wallace: “It wasn’t something I kept up with. I didn’t keep up with stuff like that.”

Wallace has appeared as a witness for state attorneys working to uphold the convictions of the Fairbanks Four. Bachman, reminded Wallace that he was under oath, then proceeded with specific questions about the Hartman attack.

Bachman: “Were you on the corner of 9th and Barnett when John Hartman was attacked?”

Wallace: “No, I was not.”

Bachman: “Were you driving a car near the corner of 9th and Barnett when John Hartman was attacked?”

Wallace: “No, I was not.”

Bachman: “This is important stuff, sir. We need your honest testimony here. Did you have any involvement in that attack?”

Wallace: “No, I did not.”

Bachman: “As a driver?”

Wallace: “No, ma’am.”

The last response is specifically contradictory to Wallace’s chronicled statement to a public defender agency employee in 2003, in which he claimed to have driven a car carrying Holmes and other men, who got out and assaulted Hartman.

Wallace returns to the stand this morning as attorneys representing the Fairbanks Four resume questioning.