OR OR - DOC chief James 'Michael' Francke, 42, Salem, 17 Jan 1989

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by FreeFrankGable, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    Greetings to the Websleuth community! My name is Rob Taylor. Five years ago I created the website www.freefrankgable.com to enlighten others to the wrongful conviction of Frank Gable for the murder of Oregon Corrections Chief Michael Francke.

    Frank Gable is serving life without parole and has been incarcerated for over 20 years.

    This case ranks as one of Oregon's most extensive and expensive murder trials ever. Michael Francke was killed on January 17, 1989, and after many months of investigations with no suspects, authorities began building a case around Frank Gable. Frank was indicted on 4/5/90.

    No physical evidence or DNA evidence exists linking Gable to this crime, and he has maintained his innocence from the beginning.

    The prosecutions theory was Gable had broke into Francke's car parked in front of a state building when Francke confronted him and Gable stabbed him in the heart. Nevermind there was no evidence of forced entry to the fully alarmed vehicle or anything to indicate anyone had been in the car. Nothing was damaged and nothing was missing. Not to mention Francke still had his watch and billfold on him.

    Witnesses consisted of meth heads and jailbirds who testified Gable told them he did it. The only alleged eyewitness was a drug dealer and criminal named Cappie "Shorty" Harden, who testified he happened to be in the area and saw Gable stab Francke.

    I located this witness in May of 2005, and shortly thereafter he publicly recanted his testimony in an interview with the Portland Tribune saying he lied at trial under pressure from the state police, and that he never really was at the scene of the crime. (See-"Eyewitness Recants"-Portland Tribune)

    Another witness, Jodie Swearingen, who testified at the Grand Jury, recanted shortly after that grand jury proceeding, saying she was pressured into lying as well to corroborate Shorty's story. And yet another witness, John Kevin Walker recanted after the trial saying he lied.

    There was a guy named Johnny Crouse who confessed to the murder within the first few months of the investigations. Crouse knew details about the murder that only police or the killer would know, yet he was not deemed a suspect.

    Michael Francke's family has never been satisfied with the investigations conducted by police. So much so, that shortly after the murder, Kevin, Michael's younger brother moved from Florida to Oregon to investigate things himself. Just before Michael was killed he told his brother Kevin that he had found some things wrong within corrections and was going to have to "clean house."

    Michael Francke was preparing to speak to a Senate Judiciary Committee on corrections matters, and possibly about the wrongdoings he had discovered within his department when he was killed two days prior to that hearing.

    The Francke's believe Michael was killed by corrupt corrections officials to silence him, and they strongly believe in Gable's innocence.

    Many have pointed the finger at another drug dealer, Tim Natividad, as the person who was contracted to do the hit. There is substantial evidence to support those allegations, although Gable's trial judge, Greg West, refused to allow mention of Natividad or Crouse at trial. Natividad was shot and killed two weeks after the Francke murder in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, Elizabeth Godlove. She was acquitted four months later. Soon after she entered into a personal relationship with Kevin Francke, the younger brother of Corrections Chief Michael Francke, and married. They are still married today.

    The defense tried twice to obtain documents relating to Natividad and Crouse from the DA's office that they felt could assist them in Gable's defense but were denied both times by the trial judge. Crouse has been transferred from the Nebraska State Penitentiary to their work release program in Lincoln. He's currently serving time on unrelated charges.

    In October of 2007 another witness stepped up. Greg Johnson/Kellcy, serving 20 years in Oregon on robbery charges, told Nigel Jaquiss, the Pulitzer prize winning journalist of the Portland weekly "Willamette Week" that he unknowingly drove the getaway car for Natividad the night of the 17th, and that a couple of days later he witnessed Natividad receiving a $20,000 payoff from Hoyt Cupp, a former warden of the Oregon State Penitentiary.

    Jaquiss won the Pulitzer by exposing former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt's pedophile secret. The two year long sexual abuse and rape of Goldschmidt's 14 year old babysitter when he was mayor of Portland, Oregon at the age of 32. Goldschmidt was Governor at the time of the Francke murder, and was directly responsible for bringing Francke to Oregon from New Mexico.

    Why Frank Gable is innocent

    There were questions from the beginning. For example, if it really was a bungled car burglary, why were there no signs of entry on Michael Francke’s car, a fully alarmed state vehicle, parked in front of the corrections department administrative headquarters? And if, indeed, the stabbing occurred at the car, why was there no evidence whatsoever that an intruder had even been inside the car? Matter of fact, why was there no physical evidence discovered anywhere that would link Frank Gable to this crime?

    Although Francke suffered two stab wounds, one finally and fatally to the heart, why was there no sign of a struggle? In fact, the first blood spatters were 95 feet away, on a sidewalk leading back to the Dome Building, as the corrections headquarters is called.

    And if it was, in fact, a robbery, why were none of Francke’s possessions missing? When his body was discovered that night at 12:35 a.m., some five hours after police say the murder took place he was still wearing his gold watch. His billfold was untouched.

    And come to think of it, why did it take more than five hours despite what corrections officials later described as a “meticulous search” to find his body, lying in plain view on a porch on the north front side of the Dome Building?

    The "meticulous search” was conducted after Francke's car was found with the driver door open around 7pm the night of the murder.

    Not to mention the sheer improbability that a small-time car burglar, with a city full of cars at his disposal, would pick on one belonging to a law enforcement official, parked in a slot conspicuously labeled “Director.”

    The answer is simple...Frank Gable is innocent!

    Over the years there have been a few theories on why, how, and what really happened on January 17, 1989. Ironically, the state's theory of a "bungled car burglary" is the most preposterous. To explain how a jury reached a unanimous verdict of guilty on all counts after seventeen hours would be yet another example of the same reasons others have been wrongfully convicted, and there are many.
     
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  3. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    are you a journalist or author looking to write a book?

    just curious ...
     
  4. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    No ma'am. I'm just a guy who is passionate about seeking justice in this case, who feels strongly in Gable's innocence, and that he didn't receive a fair trial. In 2004 there were very few internet hits which provided info on the case, save for some newspaper articles here and there. I decided a website would be a good vehicle for compiling all the info and making it available to the masses. I didn't know Frank Gable or anyone else connected with this case. I just knew I had to do something.
     
  5. WholeLottaRosie

    WholeLottaRosie Dancing on a moonbeam!

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    Thanks for bringing this VERY interesting case here. I am just starting to read you site and other links on it. I think that we at WS will enjoy digging into this!
     
  6. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    You're very welcome. I have put my heart and soul into this case the past five years, and have accomplished much more than I ever anticipated. Support and encouragement have come from those you'd least expect. It has been a long and arduous journey and I will never give up my fight for justice in this matter. Along the way I've encountered several unexpected peculiarities. Some of which you may discover among the content of my Windows Live blog mostly. A personal journal I began a couple of years ago. If you have any questions on anything you stumble across be sure to ask. I'm more than happy to explain further if necessary.
     
  7. dreamweaver

    dreamweaver New Member

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    I distinctly remember when this happened.
    It was an odd set of circumstances when it was first reported.
    I had a number of questions, about the same you, FreeFrankGable.

    My number one question at the time:
    Why was he not found for hours when he was lying dead on the porch?
     
  8. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    Very good question Dreamweaver! I suspect one of the best theories to explain that is the abduction theory which was re-enacted on the Unsolved Mysteries episode that aired just prior to Gable's trial. That episode is available for viewing on the homepage of my website.

    The theory is that Francke was abducted after he finished his meeting, left the Dome Building, and headed for his car. It explains why the car door was found open and the car alarm was not set off. It explains why no physical evidence was found to link Gable or anyone else inside the car, simply because no-one ever got in the car, as Francke may have been abducted by multiple individuals after he himself opened the car door.

    The prosecution used the testimony of a janitor named Wayne Hunsacker to assist in corroborating the testimony of Cappie "Shorty" Harden, who testified he was at the building to pick-up Jodie Swearingen when he noticed a man approaching Francke's car and yelled "Hey, What are you doing in my car?" Harden testified he then saw Gable come out of the car and stab Francke then run west.

    Hunsacker testified that he left his job in the basement of the Dome Building at 7 p.m. and was walking away north to his car when he heard a "surprise, hurt" sound. Looking back, he saw two men facing each other who then turned away from one another with one racing off to the west, and the other walking back to the Dome Building.

    Police thought that Hunsaker saw Gable confronting Francke. Criminalist James Pex said the "surprise, hurt" sound was the type of sound that could have been caused by the knife puncturing Francke's lung.

    But answer this question: Why didn't Hunsaker, who was about the same distance from Francke's car as Harden, hear Francke's shout?

    Those who believe in the abduction theory are of the feeling Francke was abducted in order to obtain computer disks or files that Francke had which were evidence of the wrongdoings he discovered, then brought back to the Dome Building where Francke may have attempted to flee and was stabbed in the process. Could be why the first blood droplets were discovered on a sidewalk just a few feet north of the front entrance to the Dome Building and leading north toward and up the north portico steps where Francke finally collapsed at the door he attempted to break into.

    Shorty Harden has since recanted his testimony saying he lied about ever being at the Dome Building. So who did Hunsacker see? IMO, it's doubtful he saw Francke being murdered otherwise they would've found Francke's body on the porch.
     
  9. Texas Mist

    Texas Mist Retired WS Staff

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    Nice to meet you, Rob.

    I'm wondering - what was the judge's reason for disallowing the defense to use a SODDI defense that included Natividad or Crouse?
     
  10. SuziQ

    SuziQ Well-Known Member

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    Below is what makes me say, huh? I know that criminals aren't known for their smarts, but seriously, why would you chose THAT spot? And then add the fact nothing appears to have been stolen.

    http://www.freefrankgable.com/index1

    Not to mention the sheer improbability that a small-time car burglar, with a city full of cars at his disposal, would pick on one belonging to a
    law enforcement official, parked in a slot conspicuously labeled “Director.”
     
  11. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    TexasMist...I urge you and others to read "The Oregonian’s Frank Gable Affair: “Unprecedented Access,” written by Pam Quinn, an Oregon native who spent a great deal of time reviewing the many case files and articles I've included on my site.

    It's located on my "What's Happening" page of my website.

    Essentially, the trial judge, Greg West, denied the motions of Frank's attorneys to have access to materials relating to Crouse and Natividad due to the prosecutions argument that they have reviewed the materials and determined they have no relevance. As crazy as it sounds, that's what happened.

    Here's an excerpt from Ms. Quinn's article which explains it in more detail. Again, I urge you to read Ms. Quinn's entire article as it further explains how reporters from The Oregonian newspaper journalistically gloated over being given “unprecedented access to the files of Marion County district attorney and the Oregon State Police on the Francke case.” The reporters claimed they “reviewed tens of thousands of pages of OSP investigative reports, which included material not disclosed to Gable lawyers.”

    Here's the excerpt...

    Marion County Circuit Judge Gregory West burdened Frank Gable with a threshold requiring proof of a nexus (regarding the murder) between a dead man, and one who had previously confessed to the murder in order to even view records or materials about the two men that existed in government custody.

    This burden was above and beyond that required by rules of evidence to include these materials (that might have been found in the withheld files) at trial as evidence.

    Did this unconstitutionally chill the defendants right to prepare for the particular type of defense he felt was his strongest option?

    There is a strong likelihood such a burden placed upon Gable by the Court may indeed have been unconstitutional because it arbitrarily discriminated against the defendant, and undermined his right to a presumption of innocence.

    Using similar reasoning as put forth by The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“NACDL”) amicus brief in Holmes v South Carolina, one could argue in the Gable case:

    The Oregon Court’s decision to arbitrarily discriminate against the defense's attempt to gather evidence for a particular type of defense while the Marion County District Attorney "labored under no similar, special restrictions in seeking to present evidence later to a jury supporting its allegations" of Frank Gable’s guilt, should be held as unconstitutional.

    The US Supreme Court decisions in Holmes v. South Carolina and in Chambers v. Mississippi are the rare cases where the Federal Courts have reviewed and reversed in favor of a defendant upon the constitutionality of the overly restrictive application or interpretation of the lower State courts application of Rules of Evidence specific to "third-party guilt defense" type cases wherein such a defense or evidence was excluded.

    The Federal Courts have acknowledged that, as a general rule, “the accused, in exercising his right to present a complete defense, must comply with states’ “established rules of procedure and evidence.” But, “where constitutional rights directly affecting the ascertainment of guilt are implicated,” those rules “may not be applied mechanistically to defeat the ends of justice.”Chambers, 410 U.S. at 302.


    And there you have it...or at least Gable's federal appellate attorney Nell Brown. Ms. Quinn has essentially provided Ms. Brown with what could prove to be Gable's best fed appeals argument in that his constitutional rights were violated when Judge West refused to allow Gable's attorneys to pursue a third-party guilt defense.
     
  12. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    This page of my Free Frank Gable website also offers a video re-enactment of custodian Wayne Hunsacker's statement to the police of seeing two men confronting each other in the Dome Building parking lot and of hearing a surprise hurt sound, then one man running west away from the building and the other man walking toward the dome building.

    Click here for Timeline of a Murder
     
  13. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    Stacked against Gable, the Marion County District Attorney’s office had eight material witnesses---material meaning essential to the prosecution’s case. All but one of the witnesses were part of a rogue’s gallery composed of convicted drug dealers and drug users, thieves, and a child molester. All but one were either serving time, or facing unrelated charges, or on the run.

    Click here to read Witnesses Against Frank E. Gable
     
  14. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    Thus far, time has failed to heal the wounds caused by the January 1989 stabbing death of Corrections Director Michael Francke. Instead, time has served only to deepen the bitterness and cynicism his family and others feel toward Oregon authorities...to cast more shadows on his former department...
    to add names to the uneasy fraternity of drug dealers, detectives, bureaucrats, politicians, reporters, convicts, liars, lawyers, guards, governors, brothers and dead men who are bound together by Francke's murder.

    Journal of a Murder — crunched into brief glimpses of witness statements, interviews and investigation reports — is a chronicle representing the initial two years of work by police, press, other investigators, Francke's family and friends.

    It also includes current updates.

    Click here to read Journal of a Murder
     
  15. Sleuthster

    Sleuthster Well-Known Member

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    Very impressive website.

    Are you a relative of Frank Gable or someone who has just done alot of investigation on this case?
     
  16. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    Thank you Sleuthster! No, I'm not a relative. I didn't even know Frank Gable or anyone else connected with this case when I created my website and began my own investigations five years ago.

    Within the first year I found and befriended the state's only "alleged" eyewitness, Cappie "Shorty" Harden, and within the next month he gave an interview to the Portland Tribune admitting he lied at trial. However, the recant was controversial in that Harden was paid money for the interview by Michael Francke's brothers Kevin and Patrick.

    The following explanation was offered by Patrick Francke:

    "Much has and will be written about the fact that we paid Shorty for this information. Right on! There is not a prosecutor at any level in the United States criminal justice system that does not do the same damn thing every day. Their currency is "the deal”, plea-bargaining. I did not have that available to me, unfortunately. No "Get Out Of Jail Free" card I could use, so I used the currency I do have available, Yankee greenback dollars. The cops and the DA's do the same thing, they just use a different barter system."

    I think Patrick makes a good point, although in hindsight it probably wasn't a good idea to pay Harden for the interview.
     
  17. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    I inquired with one of the admins, Andoid, about creating a sub-folder for me. The reply was..."We set up forums based on the level of activity, so if the case gets busy we'll do that."

    So please help me spread the word throughout the Websleuth community in order to generate more activity. I have so much story to tell.
     
  18. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    Hi Rob and welcome to Websleuths! I have not had the time to make it all the way through your website yet but I just wanted to say it is very impressive. You have done a really nice job creating it and maintaining it. I have yet to form an opinion about Gable's guilt or innocence but I am looking forward to getting more familar with the circumstance and your site is a wealth of information.

    I hope the thread catches on!
     
  19. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    alright you've convinced me to delve in ... be back with some thoughts once I've been able to formulate them :waitasec:
     
  20. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    Looking forward to some discussion here and thanks for your kind words about my website gaia227. I have devoted a considerable amount of time to creating the website as I didn't have a clue on how to make one when I started.

    I've been perusing the Websleuths site lately trying to familiarize myself with how everything works and reading other posts. We're enduring sub-zero temps here in Iowa so I don't leave the house unless I have to. I've never experienced this type of cold being an Oregon native.
     
  21. FreeFrankGable

    FreeFrankGable New Member

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    This is my most recent addition to my website. A good synopsis of the case.
     

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