Third man seek retrial in Fairbanks beating murder

Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) A third man convicted of the 1997 beating murder of teenager John Hartman has applied for a retrial.

Eugene Vent, 26, submitted an application from prison in Arizona, citing three primary reasons. He said he faced an all-white jury prejudiced against him as an Alaska Native. He said three key state witnesses were given immunity from prosecution in their own cases in exchange for testimony. Also, a police detective interrogated him for two hours while he was drunk and lied to him about blood found on his clothing, he said.

A lawyer representing Marvin Roberts, 25, recently joined Kevin Pease, 25, in asking for a retrial based on an unauthorized experiment apparently conducted by a jury during deliberations after the men were tried together.

Both men assert that jurors improperly left the courthouse during deliberations to determine how clearly a witness could have seen a mugging connected to the murder trial.

Along with George Frese, 23, the men were convicted of murdering Hartman, 15, as well as assaulting a man in downtown Fairbanks on Oct. 11, 1997.

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