Published December 17, 2015
FAIRBANKS, ALASKA – Four indigenous men who have been imprisoned for their 1997 conviction for the beating death of a teenager on the streets of Fairbanks, Alaska will be freed as the result of a deal reached with the State of Alaska late Thursday afternoon. The four indigenous men have been dubbed the “Fairbanks Four.” Three of the four men are Alaska Natives and the fourth man is an American Indian.
The Fairbanks Four have maintained their innocence since the time of their arrests. In recent years, supporters have asked the U.S. Justice Department and the State of Alaska to review their convictions or free the four. One of the key supporters has been U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is the senior senator representing Alaska and a member of the U.S. Senate Commitee on Indian Affairs.
“Justice prevails,” said Senatore Murkowski after Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Paul Lyle reversed the Fairbanks Four’s convictions.
Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards said the state of Alaska will not retry to the four men.
Alaska Natives and others have maintained the convictions of the four indigenous men were racially motivated.
In exchange for their vacated convictions, the Fairbanks Four agreed not to sue local and state governments.
Related: Alaska’s Reluctant Pursuit of Justice: The Fairbanks Four