ANCHORAGE -

A state prosecutor reviewing new testimony regarding the “Fairbanks Four” convicted of Jonathan Hartman’s 1997 murder has issued a blistering response, calling it “hearsay.”

In a 23-page Fairbanks Superior Court filing released Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Adrienne Bachman questions the veracity of affidavits from William Holmes and Scott Davison, who say five other men reportedly beat Hartman. She also calls additional expert testimony the defense wishes to introduce for consideration impermissible under Alaska statute.

The filing comes a day after Fairbanks City Mayor John Eberhart said he was “disappointed” by the Fairbanks Police Department’s handling of Holmes’ December 2011 statement, saying he expected Bachman’s review to produce “a thorough report of this case.”

“(T)he bottom line is that the state must oppose the petitions,” Bachman wrote. “The law guides this decision and it is the law, not public sentiment or unsupported, hearsay allegations, which must guide the court’s consideration of these petitions.”

Bachman notes in her response that the Alaska Innocence Project’s filing, which it says proves the innocence of George Frese, Kevin Pease, Marvin Roberts and Eugene Vent, remains confidential and the state has yet to fully review its findings. She asks the court for permission to amend her response if its details become public.

“The task of corroborating the two affiants who accuse Jason Wallace has proven to be difficult,” Bachman wrote. “Although many witnesses have been contacted, some have declined to cooperate, while others have been open in remembering what they can from the days and hours surrounding the death of John Hartman and the mugging of Franklin Dayton. Other witnesses have come forward to allege new information that supports the convictions.”

Throughout her filing, Bachman emphasizes that neither Holmes nor Davison were directly involved in Hartman’s death.

“What the petitioners present amounts only to hearsay allegations that a third person, Jason Wallace, made incriminating statements about assaulting John Hartman,” Bachman wrote. “The court can only consider admissible evidence, and hearsay is not admissible evidence.”

Bachman also questions the AIP’s description of Holmes’ statement, relayed to Fairbanks police by a correctional officer in California where Holmes was being held, given that Holmes told Alaska State Troopers that he did not see, hear, or participate in the assault against Hartman.

“The defendants characterize Holmes’ affidavit as a confession,” Bachman wrote. “However, it contains no admission to any involvement in the assault on John Hartman. Further, it contains no admission that Holmes intended to facilitate a lethal assault (as an accomplice).”

Bachman questions why Holmes and Davison, both held by authorities in other crimes, wouldn’t have sooner used their information about the Hartman case to cut deals with the prosecution. She points to Davison’s record, prior to telling authorities that Wallace said he, Holmes and others had attacked Hartman, which included Davison giving extensive information on other cases to law enforcement.

“Throughout all of this, Davison did not contact the police or the men convicted of killing John Hartman,” Bachman wrote. “Though his own lawyer practiced criminal defense in Fairbanks and often worked with police when clients wanted to mitigate their sentences, he never disclosed the alleged secret about Jason Wallace.”

According to Bachman, the AIP has to prove serious flaws in the case before a judge can even consider the group’s claims that the Fairbanks Four are innocent.

“Most jurisdictions require that a ‘defect’ be identified in the underlying prosecution and that the ‘defect’ must be of a constitutional caliber such that our system of justice cannot tolerate a result (even a jury verdict) derived from a constitutionally flawed prosecution,” Bachman wrote. “Plainly stated, there are no constitutional flaws in the underlying trials, much less flaws of a caliber that the verdicts may not stand.”

In Bachman’s eyes, the defense testimony the Fairbanks Four want to expand upon -- one set of claims that witness Arlo Olson couldn’t have recognized the Fairbanks Four mugging Dayton as he said he did, and another set of claims about whether boot marks found on Hartman’s body were made by Frese -- are merely “new and improved” versions of statements already made at trial.

In the filing’s conclusion, Bachman says Hartman’s older brother remembers a jailhouse apology he received from Eugene Vent, while the brother was incarcerated in an unrelated case.

“John Hartman’s brother recalls that heartfelt apology, with an emotional authenticity that makes his recollection credible,” Bachman wrote. “That brother wants the right people held accountable for John’s senseless death and these defendants freed if they did not kill John. However, Eugene Vent’s words still echo in his mind, ‘I’m so sorry. We didn’t mean to kill him.’”

While Bachman defends the prosecution’s handling of the original Fairbanks Four trial, she says she isn’t opposed to a new evidentiary hearing in the case.

Channel 2’s Steve Mac Donald contributed information to this story.