FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A man who was one of the defendants known as the Fairbanks Four will not be returned to jail immediately on new charges.
Kevin Pease, 40, will face a curfew and wear an ankle monitor as he awaits the outcome of charges in an assault case, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Pease is one of four Fairbanks men convicted of fatally beating teenager John Hartman to death on a Fairbanks street corner in 1997. The four spent nearly two decades in prison but asserted their innocence and worked with supporters, including the Alaska Innocence Project, to challenge the convictions.
A monthlong hearing in October 2015 re-examined facts of the case. Pease was released under terms of a settlement in December 2015. The murder convictions were vacated and prosecutors dismissed charges against all four men, who agreed not to sue the state or the Fairbanks police department.
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The four later sued and said that part of the agreement was not enforceable.
Pease in December was charged with felony assault and criminal mischief. Prosecutors say he swung a bat and smashed car windows as his brother’s ex-girlfriend tried to drive off.
Warrants for his arrest for failure to appear for court hearings were quashed Wednesday.
Pease pleaded not guilty to all charges at the hearing. Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy issued an order requiring that Pease put up $2,000 in bail, wear the electronic ankle monitor and maintain a curfew in his home between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The woman in the assault case participated by telephone. She said she wanted Pease to pay to repair broken windows on her car but did not want him to go to jail. She said she did not believe Pease was a threat.
Assistant Attorney General David Buettner asked for stricter bail conditions. He noted Pease’s record of only two misdemeanors from 1996 and 1997.
“He was in prison for 18 years. That’s why there is no history from 1998 and 2016 because he was incarcerated,” Buettner said.
Pease’s attorney, Steven Hansen, said he strongly objected to the insinuation that Pease would have a longer criminal record if he hadn’t been imprisoned for 18 years.
Judge McConahy made his judgment based on recent charges, not the Hartman case, he said.
“His recent history shows him not being compliant with court orders. I’m not going way back into the ’90s. I’m just talking about recently,” McConahy said.
Pease is accused of circling the car as the woman tried to drive away, swinging the bat to break windows and making a threatening statement.
The judge said he considered the woman’s words in setting bail.