Statesman Journal from Salem, Oregon on April 28, 1991 · Page 61
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Statesman Journal from Salem, Oregon · Page 61

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Salem, Oregon
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Sunday, April 28, 1991
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Page 61
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Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore., Sunday, April 28, 1991 IDEAS Page SG Attention Jurors! Jurors in the trial of the state vs. Frank E. Gable for the murder of Corrections Director Michael Francke have been instructed by Judas Grea West not to read news m accounts of the case, the admonition would include the material presented here. If you are on the jury, please do not read any further. mm cfss 2F JournalGable becomes prominent figure in Francke murder Lk Mike Keerins Continued from Page 4G Keerins were present May 9 Police are told by an informant that Gable may have information about Francke's death. May 15 Janyne Gable moves to North Bend in Coos County with Frank Gable. She and Gable purchase a shotgun. On Dec. 10, 1990, Gable pleaded guilty to a federal gun possession charge related to the shotgun. He received an eight-year minimum sentence. May 18 A high-ranking FBI official in Washington, D.C., writes to Francke's sister, Ann, and tells her that the bureau is looking into possible corruption within the Oregon prison system and any link to her brother's death. Portland FBI officials later deny any such investigation took place. May 24 Frank Gable is in a Keizer home that is raided by police. It raises suspicions among the Salem-area drug crowd that Gable is a police informant, although he later contends that he was not working for the police at that time. May 26 Gable is arrested in Salem on a stolen car charge that is later dropped. While in the Marion County jail, a state police detective questions Gable about Francke's death. Gable denies having any knowledge about the killing. May 28 Mike Keerins, who is in the Marion County jail awaiting transfer to Idaho for a car theft charge there, arranges through his girlfriend, Frances Jones, for Gable to place a three-way call to an unknown woman from the jail. Jones later will tell police that she listened in and overheard Gable discuss Francke's murder. According to Mike Keerins, between Gable's arrest and subsequent release on May 30, Gable told him that he killed Francke. May 30 After a one-week trial, Elizabeth Godlove, 25, is acquitted of murdering Timothy Natividad. The jury heard evidence from witnesses who contended that Natividad, a drug dealer, often threatened people with knives and guns. June 7 Crouse telephones Patrick Francke and tells him that he did not kill Michael Francke but says the corrections chief was "on to something big." Crouse says, "Two people paid for it to keep from losing their jobs." June 13 Accusations that the 1986 state police investigation of corruption and criminal activities at the Corrections Department was ineffective and possibly a cover-up, prompt Goldschmidt to say of the reports, "I'm getting fed up with the b.s. and the rumors. . . . Where does this garbage come from?" June 14 Patrick Francke says his brother may have been killed to hide corruption and drug trafficking at the penitentiary, according to a story in the Statesman Journal. He says his brother was about to expose an "organized criminal element" and that "heads were going to roll" in the corrections administration. Patrick Francke says he bases his assumptions in part on the Jan. 13 telephone call to Katie Francke, as well as ' ' information he is receiving from corrections employees and inmates. State police make no attempt to contact Katie Francke about the call. Oregonian columnist Phil Stanford also reports Patrick Francke's contentions and writes that Bingta Francke told him that her late husband had called her shortly before his death. He told her that he was frightened and had been firing a riot shotgun from their back porch in Scotts Mill, according to the column. June 15 Fred Pearce, who was named Francke's replacement as corrections chief in March, denies that there is major corruption or drug trafficking at the penitentiary. June 15 Crouse asks for immunity , W from prosecution in exchange for j fj information. He accuses two penitentiary I officials of multimillion-dollar corruption , , 1 schemes. Crouse says the officials offered to pay him to have Francke killed. One of the officials is the same man the corrections officers accused of the murder and drug trafficking the day after the killing. LTV ii r V 1 1 A Fred Pearce 'I I fop Statesman Journal file photo Police found this graffittj on a parking structure pole. "Francke knew too much " is among other words and drawings. June 16 Graffiti found on a parking structure pole reads: "Francke knew too much." The writing is accompanied by a crude drawing that depicts a five-pointed star, followed by an equal sign, followed by a stick-figure man and a knife. Other words written on the pole included the words whores, cops, white slaves and welfare. The address of a Center Street boarding house used primarily by state hospital patients and former prison inmates also was on the pole. June 21 The Oregon State Police release to the press the J' Composite drawing drawing of the well-dressed man in a pin-stripe suit whom they have been seeking. Sarah Moore, a deputy district attorney, says the drawing was not released earlier because the police wanted to exhaust other leads first. Penn tells Stanford, the Oregonian columnist, that the drawing was not released by the state police because it was not very well done. The man is described as 5-feet-10, about 180 pounds, with dark hair and mustache, and a dark or olive complexion. June 26 Michael Keerins is sent to the Idaho State Penitentiary. July Penn says that a number of corrections officials have been given lie-detector tests regarding their possible involvement in the Francke murder. All passed, he says. What he doesn't say is that some of the initial testing was inconclusive and that some of the officials were tested again most of those tests indicating "no consistent deceptive responses," which meant, the examiner said, that they were being truthful. Several of the men tested also indicate that they have been kept up to date on the investigation's progress by state police, including the comments Crouse made about corrections officials offering to pay him for the murder. July 13 Gable reportedly tells Earl Childers, who had just escaped from the Corrections Department restitution center, that two men were present when Francke was killed, but he did not elaborate. Childers admits the story to police in December 1989 after denying it in several previous interviews. July 14 The Statesman Journal reports that the FBI is investigating a possible connection between drug trafficking and corruption at the penitentiary with the death of Francke. The information came from an official with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. July 15 The FBI, in a morning press release, denies carrying out an investigation at the penitentiary. Later that day, however, an FBI spokesman acknowledges that the bureau conducted an investigation into drug trafficking at the penitentiary but says the investigation was separate from the Francke investigation. July 1 5 Gable tells Childers that he killed Francke during a car burglary, which Childers told the police in December 1989. Childers also told police that he saw Gable on the Dome Building grounds on the evening Francke was killed. July 23 Drug use in Oregon's prisons may be extensive, but it is not yet out of control, Pearce says in a report to Goldschmidt. July 25 Corrections counselor John Lorance is interviewing penitentiary inmate Konrad Garcia, when Garcia says that Tim Natividad killed Michael Francke. Garcia said Natividad told him that he could get him released from the penitentiary if Garcia would kill Francke, Lorance told police. According to court documents filed by Gable's defense lawyers in September 1990, Garcia also said that the murder was arranged by Scott McAlister. Garcia later told police that he thought Natividad matched the police drawing of the man in the pin-stripe suit. July Gable tells Mark Gesner, a drug dealer, that he killed Francke, according to a female friend of Gesner's who says she overheard the conversation. The woman told the police her information in September 1989 after seeing composite drawings of men wanted for questioning in the case. One of the composites, she said, looked like Gable, and she then remembered what she had heard. Also in July, Gable reportedly tells other witnesses: "I know who did it, and they will be dead soon. Michael Francke had his death coming to him." The witnesses don't tell the police their information until many months later. July 31 Melody Garcia tells state police detective Kenneth Pecyna that she thinks Natividad was responsible for Francke's death. She tells the Statesman Journal the story the next day. Melody Garcia says she had suspected him but only was convinced after she saw the composite drawing, which she contends looked like Natividad on several occasions when she saw him dressed up. "And he had a pin-stripe suit," she says. Because there is no collaborating witness statements her contentions are not immediately published. Melody Garcia also tells the newspaper that Buck Burgess, who is her ex-husband, was a close associate of Natividad. Aug. 1 The Salt Lake County Sheriffs office is asked to give Scott McAlister a lie-detector test. They conclude that McAlister was truthful when he denied involvement in Francke's murder. Months later, when McAlister becomes embroiled in controversy in Utah and reports of Oregon prison corruption reach Utah, Salt Lake County officials complain that they weren't given enough information to properly test McAlister. Early August Gable reportedly tells Dan Walsh, who later becomes a prosecution witness, that he killed Francke during a car burglary. Walsh did not tell his story to police until March 14, 1990, after they had grilled him several times in between. Aug. 7 Janyne and Frank Gable go back to North Bend. After arriving in North Bend, a state trooper telephones Les Gederos' house and leaves a message with Janyne asking Frank Gable to take a polygraph test about the Francke case. When Frank gets the message, he threatens Janyne about turning him in, she later tells police. Aug. 8 Francke's family sues the state medical examiner for the full autopsy report. Penn says releasing the autopsy report could seriously jeopardize a successful prosecution. Aug. 13 Michael Keerins writes to Frances Jones, who moved to Idaho to be near him. He writes: "Why do you want to know about Michael Francke? Curiosity killed the cat, you know." "Before you get told, you will have to swear it's forever because you can never leave me knowing." Aug. 20 Frances Jones tells police detectives that she lied in February 1989 when she told them that Mike and Kris Keerins were at her house at 7 p.m. on the night Francke was killed. She says they didn't arrive at her house until 8:30 p.m. Aug. 24 Michael Keerins telephones Frances Jones from the Idaho prison and asks her to place a three-way call to his mother. Jones reportedly heard Keerins say, "He deserved what he got from them because he found out things that were going on inside and who was involved in it." Aug. 30 Penn confirms that a grand jury has been meeting for several weeks to consider evidence in the Francke case. Aug. 3 1 State police release three composite drawings including the one previously released of the man in the pin-stripe suit simultaneously with their release by New Mexico state police officials. 1- V r 1 1 J 1 r-si I IV il tuft - . Frank E. Gable Maj. Renfrew says the men are not considered suspects, but they may possess information. Sept. 1 Frances Jones tells police that she believes that Kris and Michael Keerins were involved in Francke's murder. She contends that Mike Keerins told her that Francke deserved what he got because he found out that the Keerins brothers were sources of drug trafficking i Sept. 5 Salem legislators call for a legislative task force to look into the accusations made against the Corrections Department and possible links to Francke's death. , State Sen. C.T. "Cub" Houck, R-Salem, calls efforts by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies inadequate. Sept. 6 Saying he wants to clear the air of rumors, Goldschmidt appoints John Warden, a former Court of Appeals judge, to head an independent investigation of the Corrections Department. Warden also is asked to inquire into whether Francke's death is linked to charges against the department. Goldschmidt angrily says it is time for the pcuuie mnimift mc aduoauuiio w put up vi q y "Cub1 HOUCk shut up." Sept. 10 State treasurer Meeker, a former senate colleague of the late Sen. Day, tells the Statesman Journal that Francke bought into corrections officer Larson's story of department corruption. Meeker says Francke picked up the investigation where Day left off. Sept. 13 Corrections director Pearce says he will ask for an audit of the prison industries and inmate accounts programs, which have been said to harbor wrongdoing, Included in the accusations is the fire, I , . jj? which destroyed the industries warehouse in I ' moo i Jl:l I ., i J xvoo, was set ueuueiateiy m tuver up uicii. i ) I ' and or an insurance settlement. t J Pearce later expands the audits to include T Meeker the department's farm annex and prison y canteen programs. Sept. 13 The state police, saying they just want to clear him in the case, give Frank Gable a lie-detector test. He gives consistent deceptive responses when he denies stabbing Francke and denies knowing who did. Gable, who contends to the police that he is being set up, says he knows someone named Buck who has information. "Buck told him that Michael Francke was killed as a result of a hit from somebody who was in the Arizona penitentiary," according to police reports. Sept. 14 Jeanne Schwartz testifies before the grand jury, which is looking at the evidence in the Francke case. She tells the jurors that she was ordered by corrections staff to falsify and pad inventories, remove metal state identification tags from furniture (making it difficult to track inventory) and sign for bills for which she had no authority. Sept. 15 Kevin Francke testifies before the grand jury. He says the jurors seemed particularly interested in his theories about a tie between the charges being made against the department and his brother's death. Sept. 15 Janyne Gable tells state police investigators that when Frank came home on Sept. 13, he threatened to kill himself by jumping off a bridge. She says he also reportedly made the following comments: x's ji" "1 k110 wat really happened, but he j 1 would not elaborate. it was just anotner Duusnit roDDery. "Don't you remember I was home that V night?" ill B "I don't need money on death row." Frank Gable is questioned a second time 1 . 1 .' J TUn iMfnMnom laafo fnf Janyne Gable "fA c "c"vc-. .'"OM lUi 8V4 hours dunng which Gable is visibly shaking at different times. At one point, he curled up in a fetal position, crying and saying, "I don't know why you guys don't believe me. I did not kill Michael Francke." Gable tells the police that he suspects Burgess had something to do with the murder. He says he believes that some "big shots" in the Corrections Department put out a contract to kill Francke. That evening, Gable is arrested by Coos County deputies for the assault on his wife with the broken plate. He is sentenced to a year in jail for the assault Sept. 15 KOIN TV reports that the foreman of the grand jury that is looking at the evidence in the Francke case is Thomas Denney, an assistant state attorney general. Denney was an associate of former assistant state attorney general Scott McAlister. District Attorney Penn says he doesn't think that there is a conflict of interest. He later tells the Statesman Journal that the law would not allow the removal of Denney for conflict of interest, although Denney could have stepped down. McAlister tells the television station that Penn confirmed that he passed the Salt Lake County lie-detector test. Sept. 16 At 1:30 a.m., after the 8V8-hour interview, Gable reportedly tells state police detectives, "Only God and me know who killed Michael Francke." , Gable also tells police that he suspects that Michael Keerins has been spreading rumors that he killed Francke. Gable says the reason is to get revenge on him for being a police informant. ? Sept. 16 Police interview Janyne Gable for a second time. She tells them that she doesn't believe that her husband killed Francke, but she does think that he knows who did kill Francke. -, Sept. 18 Police interview John Kevin Walker. He tells them that Gable had a pin-stripe suit and was using a lot of methamphetamine in January, but Walker denies that Gable told him about the killing. Walker didn't tell the police that Gable admitted the murder to him until March 3, 1990. Sept. 18 Parole officer Lowell Kester is shown a picture of Gable by the state police but is unable to identify him as the man who followed him from the Dome -Wilding on Jan. 17, 1989. Several days later, Kester sees the same photograph of Gable in the newspaper and decides henas the man. Sept. 19 Oregon State Police interview Mike Keerins at the Idaho penitentiary. Keerins says that Gable told him while Turn to Journal, Page 6G ' V

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