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Michael Francke Murder Mystery Solved (Part Ten)John Atkins for Salem-News.com
The charges against Frank Gable should have been dropped and Shorty Harden should have been arrested.
(SALEM) - In the last installment, we said that we would expose who the actual murderer was. Very well. Who was the one man who professed to being there? Who was the one man that had no valid reason for being there? Who was the man who claimed that he had an alibi but, when push came to shove, she admitted that she was not there? Who had a fetish for knives and even collected several hundred of them? Who was the one man who had been a recently discharged marine with hand-to-hand combat training?
Who was the man that parked his car on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the Dome building in order to keep Mike from entering? And who was seen chasing Mike across Center street? Who bragged about being a "million dollar baby?" Who allegedly traded his car for a Harley Davidson motorcycle?
Cappie "Shorty" Harden is the only person in connection with this crime for whom all the pieces clearly show his guilt. Corrupt cops routinely took Cappie out of his jail cell and wined and dined him. They arranged a meeting with his gal pal, Jodie Swearingen (who was also in jail), so they could get her on the same page. A uniformed State cop sat in the Grand Jury room and made sure that Cappie and Jodie testified as they had been instructed to. And an indictment was handed down against Frank Gable.
Interestingly, Shorty took the witness stand at Frank's so-called trial and said that he saw Frank Gable lunge at a well-dressed man who had run up to his car demanding that Frank explain what he was doing in his car. For one, all of this testimony happened more than two years after the night of the crime. In truth, as Shorty attempted to say, he (Shorty) did not know what night it was, did not know what he saw, and did not even know what Michael Francke looked like until the police showed him a picture. But the defense attorneys and the trial Judge Greg West answered for Shorty and told the jury that "yes, he is saying that he saw Frank Gable stab Michael Francke." Incredible.
One thing that gets overlooked is the fact that Jodie Swearingen was 16 years old and required to attend school. The murder happened on a Monday night. Phone records showed that three phone calls were made from Jodie's parents' house around noon. It is believed that Jodie made the calls in order to try to get Shorty to come get her. Shorty admitted that he, personally, did not go to get her. Adam, the man who Shorty claimed to have gone to pick Jodie up from her house, says that he (Adam) never went to pick Jodie up. Jodie lived in another town that was about 45 minutes away. Obviously, she did not walk. Equally obvious is the fact that Jodie's parents did not take her. Therefore, Jodie could not have been involved in any ways.
But let's forget that for a minute and see how this story would have played out if it had been the truth. Just for the hell of it, let's look at Shorty's version. Let's pretend that Jodie was, somehow, at Shorty's home.
The murder happened on a Monday night. Phone records showed that three phone calls were made from Jodie's parents' house around noon. It is believed that Jodie made the calls in order to try to get Shorty to come get her. More than likely, the calls were made by her parents wanting to know where she was.
Shorty had a problem. He knew that he would be going to kidnap and/or murder Mike that evening. He alleges that he took Jodie over to the drug house known as the "Hyacinth Street house" to get rid of her. That fits. The time that he alleges to have dropped her off there coincides perfectly with the telephone calls made by Jodie's parent(s). On the off-chance that either the cops or her parents would drop by, he felt compelled to dump her off. Besides, no way was he going to drag her along while he committed numerous felonies.
But Jodie put a wrench in his plans. She caught a ride to a convenience store that was located at about 34th and Center Street. The Dome building was located at about 23rd and Center. Shorty lived at about 7th and Center. Their contrived story alleged that Jodie called and told Cappie to meet her at the Dome Building. After waiting there awhile, she allegedly walked all the way back to the store and called again. Forensics proved that could not have happened. So what did happen?
Jodie got tired of waiting for Shorty to come back to the Hyacinth house. She caught a ride to the convenience store. She telephoned Shorty. Only he wasn't home. She left him a message to come pick her up at the store. After waiting awhile, she telephones him again. He still wasn't home. So she left a message for him to watch for her as she was going to start walking to his house. Ironically, Jodie walks right by the Dome building.
When the police first contact Shorty, he denies knowing anything. The cops tell him that Frank is a snitch. Shorty believes that this "rat" bastard is the reason for his being in jail. Still, Shorty denies knowing anything.
When the police return, months later, the seed has gestated. More than that, the cops are alleging that someone saw Shorty and/or his car at the Dome building. He then tells them that he went there to pick up Jodie. Normally, he would not remember any of that. However, it is pretty memorable when your girlfriend busts you in the middle of a murder/kidnap plan.
Michael Francke was kidnapped for three hours. He had to be somewhere for that period. The question is where? If I had a few more details that are out there, I could tell you where they took him. But I have limited access to such records. They exist, just the same.
Look at Shorty's testimony from the perspective of the police. They went to great lengths to brainwash Frank Gable over his inability to remember where he was on January 17, 1989 (almost a year later). Yet, the police do not bat an eye at Shorty's change of stories. In fact, Shorty would change his story at least four times before getting it "right."
From the perspective of the police, dragging Jodie into it was a huge mistake on Shorty's part. She was sixteen. Not many sixteen year olds have the where-with-all to put all of the pieces together. In fact, few adults could. Shorty had been reaching for straws. The police told him that they had people who saw his car at the Dome building. He needed to resolve that issue. So he conjures up an incredible tale of how Jodie wanted him to pick her up there.
If I had been sitting in that jury box, I can tell you, no way in hell would I ever have believed any part of that concocted tale. Moreover, I would have urged the rest of the jurists to address the court with the revelation that we would have found Shorty guilty of the murder. That simple act would have forced this whole mess right out into the open. The media, no matter how corrupt, would have been forced to do the story.
Continuing, if the police had not, themselves, been so corrupt, they would have arrested Shorty the minute that his alibi collapsed (Remember, Jodie refused to testify against Frank Gable at the trial). But they did not do that. Nor did Dale Penn, Ted Kulongoski, David Frohnmayer, or any of the other mobsters involved in the crimes. And every Judge that has ever looked at this case is just as guilty because they have the power, and the lawfully required duty, to dismiss the verdict when they determine that the facts do not warrant the verdict.
Shorty had absolutely no excuse to be there. None. The charges against Frank Gable should have been dropped and Shorty should have been arrested. That is as plain to see as the nose on your face. And the fact that the prosecution failed to fulfill that obligation clearly shows their wilfull participation in the murder of Michael Francke and also in the coverup. Worst still, it proves, beyond all doubt whatsoever, that they deliberately, unconscionably, and wantonly, framed a man they knew was one hundred percent innocent of the crime.
Mike had three minutes to live. Frank Gable could not have stabbed Mike at 7pm. Mike put his fist through the porch window after 9:05pm. Blood spatter at the top of the steps to that porch showed that time of death was around 10:15pm. And that was the exact time that five thugs were seen running away from the Dome building. Those thugs were described as "bikers." Now who do we know that was a biker? Who do we know who traded his car for a Harley motorcycle? Who do we know who loved knives and knew how to use them?
The defense rests.
Next Week: Closing Arguments
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