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The man who was a key witness in the “Fairbanks Four” trial has died as a result of a suicide attempt that he carried out on Saturday, the Alaska Department of Corrections has revealed.
40-year-old Arlo Olson, of Kaltag, was incarcerated at the Fairbanks Correctional Center awaiting trial in a multiple assaults and kidnapping case after two domestic violence incidents in the community of Galena in May. He was found unresponsive in his cell on Saturday by a correctional officer. He had only been in jail for a few days.
Olson was taken to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where he lingered for four days before his death. Details of the incident at FCC have not been revealed as the investigation into his death continues.
Olson was instrumental in the convictions of the the Fairbanks Four,” when he testified at trial that he was 110% sure that it was George Frese, Kevin Pease and Eugene Vent, and Marvin Roberts who beat 15-year-old John Hartman to death in October, 1997.
Olson later recanted his testimony, saying that he was coached by prosecutors as to what to say on the witness stand.
The “Fairbanks Four” had their convictions vacated in 2015 after spending 18 years in prison.