The highest profile Oregon murder in the past half-century is getting more attention—with a true-crime podcast.
iHeartRadio today released a new podcast called "Murder in Oregon," revisiting the 1989 murder of the then-Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, Michael Francke.
Francke was stabbed to death outside his Salem office in the early evening of Jan. 17, 1989. Police never found the murder weapon and struggled to solve the case. They did not make an arrest for 14 months. Prosecutors won a conviction of a small-time Salem criminal named Frank Gable in 1991, although skeptics, led by then-Oregonian metro columnist Phil Stanford, did not believe Gable was the killer.
Stanford never let go of the case, continuing to write about it for years at the O and later the Portland Tribune. In June of this year, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Acosta, who reviewed Gable's conviction at the behest of Nell Brown, Gable's federal public defender, ordered Gable released.
"The trial court erred in excluding evidence of third-party guilt and that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to assert Gable's federal due process rights in the face of the trial," Acosta wrote in his decision.
Now, the New York-based writer and producer Lauren Bright Pacheco is taking a fresh look at the story here.