Case Synopsis

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 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. She was acquitted. 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 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.

  1. ex-Salem says:

    “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.”

    Why wasn’t this considered part of, is it, discovery evidence that either side has to turn over to the other?
    Was it because the DA’s office did not have it “officially” labeled as part of the Franke case??
    And simplely, why couldn’t he get a new trial based on the fact that his lawyer was not competent to defend him?!? If the defendant has to be competent enough to stand trial and assist in their own defense, shouldn’t your lawyer have to be competent and sober while defending you?!?

  2. friend of shorty no matter what says:

    wow, heavy shit. anyway you and i have met before, in 2006 when u and shorty were neighbors in an apt complex on division i think. i live in az and at that time i was only in oregon for a short while. this is kinda tacky to ask but do you still speak to shorty or tracy?

    • What’s tacky about asking? I think I remember you. Were you staying with Shorty and Tracy for a bit? Knew a lot about computers and such? We touch base here and there. Been a few months since last talked. Any special reason you ask?

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