ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Marvin Roberts, one of the four Alaska Native men convicted in the 1997 murder of a Fairbanks teenager, proclaimed his innocence Saturday in a speech to the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage.
Roberts is the only one of the four that has been released on parole in the death of John Hartman. The men, the so-called Fairbanks Four, are seeking post-conviction relief in a civil proceeding being held this month in Fairbanks Superior Court. If successful, all four could have their convictions overturned.
Roberts received a resounding welcome Saturday, when he said exonerating the Fairbanks Four would be a step Alaska Natives need on the path toward equal and fair rights in the justice system.
The Alaska Innocence Project is representing the men in the case. The legal case hinges on the testimony of a former Fairbanks man serving time in a California prison, who claims he was with a different group of men that was responsible for Hartman's death.
At the end of Roberts' emotional speech Saturday, Roberts and others at the convention held up four fingers in support of freeing the Fairbanks Four.