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Jan-09-2013 22:59printcomments

Michael Francke: Requiem for a Reckoning

Oregon's biggest unsolved crime.

Murdered Oregon Corrections Chief Michael Francke and former U.S. President James Carter.
Murdered Oregon Corrections Chief Michael Francke and former U.S. President James Carter.

(SALEM) - Michael Francke was the director of the Oregon Corrections Department. His valuable life was snatched away violently two days before he would have testified to the Oregon legislature about Oregon officials closely tied to drug and prostitution rings in Oregon's prisons and also murder and more, much more.

His body was 'found' on the steps of the Oregon prison headquarters, the 'Dome building' in Salem. Oregon killed Francke and it is obvious for myriad reasons. It hurts to describe the killers as 'Oregon' but I don't know a better way to say it. A movie was even made about the criminality of area law enforcement in the case, called 'Without Evidence', starring Angelina Jolie.

Francke was brought to Oregon specifically to rid Oregon's prisons of corruption. Neither he nor then Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt knew what a can of worms Francke would open during his year as Oregon's Corrections chief.

A former Navy SEAL, Michael Francke achieved corrections 'stardom' by ridding New Mexico prisons of corruption. Notorious and rife with illegal officials, it culminated in a New Mexico prison riot that left dozens dead. Francke fired the crooked officials and brought the system above board. He had no such luck in Oregon. Instead, a number of officials in both police work and political office, in fact a whole generation's worth, collaborated and kept their jobs by having Francke murdered.

A young female drug addict named Jodie Swearingen told reporters the state gave her no choice other than to testify that a petty criminal named Frank Gable committed the Murder and now, more than two decades later, those Oregon officials remain above the law.

Honestly, it is one of the biggest unsolved crimes in Oregon history. John Walsh produced an episode of 'America's Most Wanted' about the case even though it was adjudicated. Oregon remains isolated and above the law, but that TV episode was a real eye opener as to how the nation views Oregon's version of truth and justice.

This poem is about the case I tried to briefly describe.

The writer has been helpful to me for years as I have followed the story of William Coleman, a former prison guard who blew the whistle on crimes in the Oregon State Prison in recent years, and narrowly avoided the full impact of the state's retaliation.

Requiem for a Reckoning

On Asylum Avenue the Dome building stood,
where it had near a century, through both bad and good.
Beside the locked door, beneath a portico hood,
Francke’s body lay waiting in the cold winter night,
for someone to wander within his death’s sight.

Missing since seven, it took hours to find him.
A night-watchman squinted ‘neath lights that were dim,
at a man sprawled on his back, yet tall and trim.
Blood on the wall, the door glass was broken,
he looked at the scene, and knew death had spoken.

The murder was left an unfinished lyric,
of twisted truth and horrors terrific,
yet no shred of evidence, nothing specific.
Soon badges with sirens deafened death’s sound,
and trampled the scene and truth in the ground.

After his murder, upstairs a shredder was humming,
“Seventeen bags and six more a' coming”
When they reopened the building,
Freddie thought, carrying them out,
“More bags than ever, beyond a doubt”.

Francke’s family was called, they told what they knew.
He’d confided he was watching, more than a few.
Corruption was rampant, he’d planned something to do.
As he watched over Prisons and counted the heads,
The Governor kept calling, “Now, we need beds!”

No one would listen that his staff had been stealing.
He practiced his shooting and held back the feeling,
that he might not be safe with the cards they were dealing.
Day tried to expose them, and he suddenly died,
and Thompson would later, when he finally tried.

Diablo told Angie, I stabbed Francke at dark.
Crouse would confess, and say, ”The answer’s at “Park”.
Then Jodie would say on a lark,
“My dead boyfriend did it” “I know more than you”
Then Keerins and Harden came for reward money, too.

Prosecutors suborned, and worked it just right,
with lie-detector practices into the night.
Then, right on cue each bird took flight,
swirling, twitting, “Perjury Procured”.
The lawyers smiled, conviction secured.

In the room at the Courthouse, they lined up their story.
For Jodie and Harden, even a Mock grand jury.
When the real one convened and they lied, no worry.
Remember? Immunity means it’s alright,
to make snitches from felons till they get it just right .

Gable’s feathers clipped and placed in a cage,
a patsy was framed, and rightly outraged.
A jury wouldn’t know that the trial was staged,
as the parakeet snitches, some caged up too,
prepared their song, to all sing in tune.

Francke’s briefcase is missing, Barger would spar.
The answer lies in “Why, it wasn’t found in his car.
“But, it wasn’t corruption!”, the D.A. argued at Bar.
“Twas a drug-addict, surprised, that wielded the knife,
and Francke, though bigger, just lost his life.”

“Jodie stays in jail! No recant in my Court!”
Again before trial, “No-third party retort!”,
and, “NO to Natividad’s autopsy report!”
In West’s court, motions in limine work really well.
An innocent convicted, well what the hell?


Anyone interested in this story can read our reports, listed below, which tie Francke's Murder to the modern day corruption in Oregon's prisons and Corrections Department. That corruptions extends into the courts and law enforcement agencies and beyond. At the core of it is the fact that Oregon regulates itself. The fact that state officials have remained indifferent to the glaring reality of the Frank Gable conviction is a sad testimony to Oregon's political character.

__________________________________________________________________

Previous articles about Oregon's prisons:

Aug-29-2012: Oregon: State of the Pedophile Witness
Jun-11-2012 Aiding a Very Important Oregon Whistleblower - Tim King Salem-News.com
May-04-2012: Dying Prisoner with Hepatitis C Calls Oregon Out for Denying Medical Treatment - Tim King Salem-News.com
Apr-03-2012: White Men Can Dance - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-22-2012: Mother's Wish to see Son Exonerated Not Granted Before her Death - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-26-2012: Oregon Judge: State 'Stuck their neck out' for Son of DA Who Raped 13-Year Old - Tim King Salem-News.com
Feb-27-2012: Retracted and Redacted- A Comparison of Two Oregon 'Criminals' - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jan-19-2012: Housing Inmates Who Make Death Threats... with their Intended Victims - Tim King Salem-News.com
Dec-19-2011: Does Oregon's Government Simply Hate Black People? - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jul-27-2011: DNA Evidence Should Free Oregon Inmate Terrence Kimble from Prison
May-04-2011 Is There An Oregon Attorney Who Cares About Civil Rights?Tim King Salem-News.com
May-31-2011: Snitch Sheets, Unresolved Murder and Severe Tobacco Crimes - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-10-2011: Reader Commentary: Can Oregon Government Change its Spots? - Salem-News.com
Mar-10-2011: Civil Rights Case in Salem Demonstrates the Power of a 911 Call - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-09-2011: Civil Rights Under the Gavel of Justice - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-08-2011: Oregon State Hospital and Staff Member Face Racism Charges Over Employee Termination - Tim King Salem-News.com
Mar-04-2011: How Far will Oregon Legal Officials go to Prevent Due Process? - Tim King Salem-News.com
Dec-27-2010: The 'Trickle Down' Effect of Whistleblower Retaliation - Tim King Salem-News.com
Dec-01-2010: Oregon Political Prisoner Being Stripped of Phone Use - Tim King Salem-News.com
Nov-25-2010: Tim King and Ruth Kovacs on KBOO's Prison Pipeline (AUDIO) - Salem-News.com
Nov-22-2010: Tim King on KBOO FM's Prison Pipeline Tonight - Salem-News.com
Nov-16-2010: Federal Mail Tampering at Oregon State Prison? - Tim King Salem-News.com
Oct-29-2010: A Witness With No Credibility - Tim King Salem-News.com
Oct-27-2010: Inmate's Life Threatened by Staff at SRCI - Tim King Salem-News.com
Oct-21-2010: Oregon Inmate Stabbing Victim Attacked Second Time - Tim King Salem-News.com
Sep-10-2010: Demonstrators Call Oregon State Hospital's Employment Practices Racist, Unacceptable - Tim King Salem-News.com
Aug-28-2010: Observations on Michael Francke's Murder, Frank Gable's Conviction, & the paid Confession of 'Shorty' Harden - Salem-News.com
Aug-25-2010: Whistleblower Blues: Man in the Hole - Tim King Salem-News.com
Aug-11-2010: Demonstrators Protest Local Newspaper Over Racism - Tim King Salem-News.com
Aug-05-2010: Evidence Shows Oregon Inmate Was Falsely Convicted - Tim King Salem-News.com
Aug-03-2010: Chicken Night at the Oregon State Penitentiary - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jul-21-2010: Eyes on the Oregon State Prison: Voicing Concern for an Inmate's Life - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jul-14-2010: State Prison Whistleblower Says Oregon Corrections is Blocking Federal Mail - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jul-05-2010: A Denial of Civil Rights- Oregon's Collaboration in Racism Whistleblower Retaliation - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jun-26-2010: Getting Refamiliarized with the Murder of Michael Francke - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jun-23-2010: Local Media Downplayed Former Prison Guard's Struggle Against Racism - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jun-18-2010: Exposé: Skeletons Falling Out of the Closet of Oregon Corrections - Tim King Salem-News.com
Jun-17-2010: Scott McAlister: Child Porn-Related Conviction and Practicing Law - Tim King Salem-News.com


Tim reporting in Afghanistan's Pesh Valley.

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

You can write to Tim at this address: tim@salem-news.com.

Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)

With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.

Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu

In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.




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Lank Bodkins January 10, 2013 6:43 pm (Pacific time)

All the more reason for politicos and bureaucrats to be term limited to one political term or four years of government service....plus financial audits when they leave those jobs.

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