1 of ‘Fairbanks Four’ to get early parole

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — One of four men convicted in the 1997 beating death of a Fairbanks teenager will be released early after a state parole board ruled in his favor.

Marvin Roberts will be released in 2015 instead of 2020, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday.

The parole board agreed last week to move Roberts to a halfway house in June 2015. He could be released three months later if he takes classes and has been on good behavior while at the halfway house, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Richard Schmitz said.

Roberts, Eugene Vent, Kevin Pease and George Frese are serving sentences of 33 to 79 years at a Colorado prison after they were convicted of beating 15-year-old John Hartman to death on a downtown Fairbanks street corner in October 1997.

The four men have maintained their innocence and fought to win their release through court appeals and parole hearings.

Their campaign has been joined by the Alaska Innocence Project. Bill Oberly, director of the nonprofit, said his investigation into the killing has convinced him that Roberts is innocent.

Roberts has been a good prisoner without any serious rule violations, Oberly said.

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