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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Francke talk

The Oregonian reporters who claim to have the "definitive" story on the 1989 murder of Oregon Corrections chief Michael Francke have responded to the Portland Tribune's challenge that they've overlooked crucial facts. The response, which mentions this blog, is here. (I had expressed extreme skepticism about the O's latest coverage here.)

Try as they might to convince that convicted murderer Frank Gable killed Francke, the O reporters essentially reargue the largely circumstantial case that convinced a jury of that fact years ago. They pooh-pooh an alternate theory that makes a great deal of sense and has never been disproved. What we're left with is a "Lee Harvey Oswald, crazed gunman, acting alone" kind of official story, which will never be very persuasive. And so we all muddle along with our suspicions. The fact that the O sent people out to look at everything again, and they didn't find anything to detract from the official view, doesn't add much.

I will say this -- if I were on a jury that saw everything that the O and others have written over the years, I never would have found Gable guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Comments (11)

So now you have to look at it from a perspective of WHY would a major news organization be hiding something on this case? If they were to find out more information and reverse a court case it would be in their favor, and would possibly get the investigating team a pulitzer nod.

I found the explanation by Crombie and Zaitz perfectly reasonable. I don't see jack's Bog going out and getting the same information to counteract the claims. Not the tribune. This is information they can get, ya just have to, you know, BE A JOURNALIST and not a sidechair journalist.

We're not talking about a current event and saving someone politically, the Oregonian probably WANTED to find some lone fact out there that was overlooked.

This is why a lot of "conspiracy theories" really grate me: they don't look past the simple fact that after x years, a lot of the reason for the "coverup" would have dissapated and someone, somewhere would leak the critical info needed to break the case. This hasn't happened in this case. Period. One should also not denounce every conspiracy theory as crazy-talk-- but look further into the issue to corroborate the facts.

Blogs: Might be right, probably not: Oh well, carry on.

I'd recommend reading Cappie "Shorty" Harden's actual testimny in court. The man was so deep in his own BS, he needed a periscope to see. What the Oregonian writers describe as a man slowly revealing the truth, after initially lying, could also be a man slowly figuring out what the authorities wanted to hear. He professes that he's not a rat, and that he doesn't expect favorable treatment in exchnage for his testimony, so I guess this drug-dealing criminal spoke out for the good of society. It doesn't add up and it never will.

the simple fact that after x years, a lot of the reason for the "coverup" would have dissapated and someone, somewhere would leak the critical info needed to break the case

The Goldschmidt "affair" took 30 years to break. Maybe we have another 14 to go on Francke.

Okay folks, nobody has ever accused me of being a quibbler, so I am accusing myself. I am not going to quibble everyone into boredom, tedium, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Here's a few hits, and if the O continues this nonsense, there will be more to follow, without question...much more.

First, the man in the pin striped suit hereafter, "MIPS". He was NEVER IDENTIFIED, AND IT WAS DEFINITELY NOT DENNIS PLANTE, THE COPIER REPAIRMAN. Had the O bothered to ask him directly, He was NOT wearing a pin-striped suit that night. He was weari,ng a brownish tweed sport coat and slacks. When Plante was brought into the grand jury room, the woman who had seen MIPS in the Dome Building said, "That's not the guy." If the Oregonian had bothered to compare contemporary pictures of Plante and MIPS, they would know they didn't look at all alike. Of course Gable's trial attorney, Bob Abel, says he concluded that Plante was the man in the pin striped suit. He's covering his incompetent ass. So let's get past the MIPS. The stat police never identified him, ever, and the defense didn't, and the prosecution didn't, and his defense lawyer, pardon the expression, never even met him. We did. So, Natividad the MIPS? I'm going with it. I saw the pictures that they didn't show Jan Curry, pictures before he got a haircut and a perm after the murder.

Second, the Big O still refuses to address the many problems with the state's case against Gable. It simply couldn't have happened the way they said it did at trial. The prosecution's one-and-only eye-witness can't even account for how he got to the scene of the crime. This has been pointed out repeatedly to the Oregonian reporters who, to hear them tell it, did such a thoroughl job of investigating the case -- and they still are unable to deal with this problem. Once you realize that the state's only eyewitness is lying -- who knows what his truth really is? -- the bottom falls out of the state's case. And a man is serving life in prison for this?

The O's infamous non-investigation is a valiant attempt to prop up the state's case against Gable long after that case has been shown to be full of holes. They attempt to do so by attacking the old conspiracy theory straw man while ignoring serious questions that have been raised about the state's case against Gable. It won't work any more.

Far from setting the Francke case to rest, as the O has so stupidly suggested, they have only stirred things up -- for which I thank them very much

Kevin Francke

Kevin Fracnke said:

First, the man in the pin striped suit hereafter, "MIPS". He was NEVER IDENTIFIED, AND IT WAS DEFINITELY NOT DENNIS PLANTE, THE COPIER REPAIRMAN. Had the O bothered to ask him directly, He was NOT wearing a pin-striped suit that night. He was weari,ng a brownish tweed sport coat and slacks.

The update from The Oregonian linked here by Jack says:

A witness, Megan Hanson, told detectives on Jan. 23, 1989, that she saw a copy machine repairman, Dennis Plante, working on a copy machine when she left work at 5 p.m. on Jan. 17, 1989, and that he was wearing a "business type suit, which was dark blue or possibly brown."

Kevin Francke says:

When Plante was brought into the grand jury room, the woman who had seen MIPS in the Dome Building said, "That's not the guy."

The update linked here by Jack says:

Jan Curry, the Corrections Department employee who told police she saw a well-dressed man in the Dome Building that night, said the person she saw and Plante were not the same man.

This may be part of why I'm having difficulty with the protestations against The Oregonian coverage: The conspiracy theorists don't seem to actually be reading it.

I've read it. The O reubttal says of the MIPS:

Much has been made of the mysterious man - also known as The Man in The Pin-Striped Suit - seen in the Dome Building the night of Francke's murder.

Turns out his identity may not be such a mystery after all.

They clearly imply that the MIPS was Plante. But Curry says it wasn't, and according to Kevin Francke, Plante himself says he wasn't wearing a suit. The O seems intent on saying, nyah, nyah, it wasn't Natividad. But even if the brother's wrong -- it wasn't Plante, and the O doesn't know who it was.

I found the tone of the O's "definitive" story annoying; it created the impression that Michael Francke was a disgruntled employee of the honorable Goldschmidt administration and that just because Stanford and Kevin Francke have expressed their concerns more than once (to try to be heard?), they are just re-hashing invalid information. Typical of the editorial mindset over there, after a while obvious, formulaic, and tiring. Actually acting as the Fourth Estate and critiquing government seems a foreign idea to the decision makers at the paper. When I moved here 25 years ago, the place impressed me as never-ending junior high school, the way it was important to be in the "right clique", And the O,especially, seems to be about perpetual middle school: no one wants to offend members of "the in-crowd" with real truth seeking. People who want to look deeper are called names: conspiracy theorists, etc., and the great mass of people are supposed to distance itself from those thus discredited. Growing up seems to take more than a lifetime here, but that is all the time any of us has. Things could evolve much faster if everyone who knows of specific problems would try to do something about them. Imho, the average journalist and the average lawyer are way too passive here.

I read the O articles, too. I also read the 36+ page police interrogation transcript (PIT) of Frank Gable.

Did anyone else notice this little anomaly? The last few grafs of the main article of the Crombe/Zaitz (sp?) piece quoted Gable's former wife, Janyne, saying Gable had burst into tears and confessed to her: "I stuck him." She asks who, he says that guy..., etc. the critical point: In the PIT, Gable NEVER USED THE WORD 'stuck' in reference to the killing of Michael Francke. He never used the word 'stuck' at all in reference to use of knives. He said 'cut' and, I think, 'sawed.'

Why were people putting words in Gable's mouth? Also in the PIT, he commented many times on the fact that his cell mate who ratted him out had told police Gable had used the word 'fluke' when 'confessing' that he had been doing a car burglary and had killed Mr. Francke. Gable said several times, "I never use that word!"

Did anyone notice that Gable thought Mr. Francke was killed in the morning? I remember the news of that day, and I thought the same thing. The O never talked about the multi-hour time lapse between the killing and the finding of the body.

The O said Gable's 'alibi' didn't hold up, but in the PIT he didn't provide an alibi. He says he doesn't know what he was doing when in January. Unless he said something different in other interrogations, I don't think he proffered an alibi.

Finally, did the O never notice that the scenario presented to the jury did not fit the MO of any of Gable's previous crimes?

The number those reporters did on the characters of Michael Francke and his brother, Kevin, not to speak of the courageous and tenacious Phil Stanford, borders on criminal.

Thanks, Jack, for making a forum for people like me and the other posters to vent our frustration about this horrible case.

Something very current, very hidden and very powerful must be at work here. Even if all of the guilty parties are not brought to justice, I believe they will be eaten from the inside with the disgusting sickness that infects them.

Cynthia wrote:

***Actually acting as the Fourth Estate and critiquing government seems a foreign idea to the decision makers at the paper.***

Would that be the same paper that won the Pulitzer for Public Service in 2001 for its expose of the INS policies at the Port of Portland? That would be part of the government, no?

Once in a while, Vic, the O does a good-even sharp(as Jack noted in today's piece about the Tom Markgraf/Robert Liberty Scam )of outing problems with government. But we cannot count on the paper as a responsible government watchdog. The Francke story is but one of myriad examples. And the real stories are, indeed, often hidden on back pages or run on Saturday of a holiday weekend as Jack noted today. Happens over and over again. More typical of the paper's investigative interests is today's editorial on making a decent place for the remains of deceased patients of the Oregon State Hospital. The paper is unafraid here; Perhaps because the families who abandoned the unfortunates are unlikely to question what the paper is doing. If a "somebody" is going to question what the O does, the paper will get cold feet. I know of at least two major stories the paper ignored and I'll bet most blog readers can say the same thing. When a major newspaper does not probe to get to the bottom of stories that affect area citizens, it becomes obstructionist in my view. Pulitizer prizes awarded to such entities lose their esteem. As Alan Dershowitz (sp?) said when the Wall Street Journal's editorial page got the prize: If it is deserving, there is something wrong with the prize.

I am tempted, sorely tempted, to take apart the O's story and rebuttal to the Trib; like the alibi angle they slid in saying that both women testified at trial(re: Viki Boyd and Shelli Thomas). They are right, half-right, again. Both were called, one testified, the other took the 5th and was excused, sans testimony of any kind.

Or their shot at Stanford re: Shorty saying he got 2 calls from Jodie from a pay phone. Again, the O is right. Shorty didn't say, "Pay phone". In the absence of her(Jodie), or Gable, or most of America in the 80's having a cell phone, that was ruled out by basic logic, which follows that she had to call from A PHONE SOMEWHERE, and the only option left is a pay phone, the closest of which,(found by the State Police)according to MapQuest, was .9 miles away, one way, which means: 2x(calls)x2(walks, of).9 miles=3.6 miles. It took me 15 minutes to walk it at a good clip, one way...60 minutes total folks. Factor in the chat time, call time, and sit and wait for the ride time, two times...well, I don't want to confuse the issue with horse sense. Shorty said it was after dinner(6 pm) and some time around 6:30 or 7:00. I know this higher math escapes them, but it pushes the time envelope past the 7:00 p.m. murder time into the incredibility time when two of his department heads were parked next to his car wondering why the car door was open.

I know, I know; I said I wasn't going to get started, but I did. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

What I did want to say (really!) is that O repeaters, I mean reporters, Phil Manzano and John Snell did yet another comprehensive, in- depth report on this murder waaaaaaay back in real trial time and came out with their post-state-victory article in the O for all to regale in. I have sent a copy of that story to a website run by a common guy, common ex-con guy, common human being guy, Rob Taylor who built for all to see, since I don't have my own website, and there's nothing here on Jack's to add attachments. I hope he can find the time to post it. It's a blast from the past, to the current rhetoric of the O...

Shouldn't they just fold their tent and let their paper become part of the 4th estate again without all of the ass-covering, ass-kissing politics?

If anyone wants me to email their article to them, Drop me a line and I will. And to Manzano, who is currently an editor at the O, give me a time to sit and chat with you buddy, and we can hash this whole thing out together.

Finally, the main thing is not, me, or Phil Stanford, or the Oregonian, or Jackson and the Statesman, it is Frank Gable rotting in his "house".


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Francke talk:

» Controversial Franke Case Explodes Onto Local Blogs from The One True b!X's PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE
First, as pointed out by Jack Bogdanski, The Oregonian recently published a ... [Read More]


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