The year was 1989, and it was a cold January night in Salem, Oregon when Michael Francke was tragically killed. Francke, the acting director of Oregon’s Department of Corrections, was brutally stabbed to death outside his office. His murder was quickly ruled a “carjacking gone wrong” and pinned on a low-level drug dealer named Frank Gable. But Francke’s brother, Kevin, and the storied Oregon reporter, Phil Stanford, believe Gable has been wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 30 years. They believe Francke’s death was connected to a trail of corruption he had uncovered in Oregon’s prison system — one that leads to the top of Oregon’s political establishment.
“Murder in Oregon” is a podcast that follows Kevin Francke and Phil Stanford on their decades-long journey, bordering on obsession, into Oregon’s drug and crime-infested underworld to answer the question: Who really killed Michael Francke?
The podcast is co-hosted by Phil Stanford and Lauren Bright Pacheco. Stanford, who has written several books on crime and corruption, has worked as a magazine writer and editor, newspaper columnist and private investigator. He was writing a column for the Oregonian when Michael Francke was murdered, and the questions raised by his death trouble him to this day. And Pacheco is a New York City-based writer and producer who started out in news radio. She has worked as a reporter, an on-air television talent, newspaper columnist and even as a private investigator. Pacheco co-hosted and narrated the critically acclaimed “Happy Face” podcast, which is how she met Phil Stanford and became interested in the Michael Francke murder case.
There’s a serious twist to this true crime podcast, too. During the final episodes of the show, Gable is released from prison. After spending 30 years in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit, Gable sits down with Stanford and Pacheco for a chat.
Listeners can check out the first episode of “Murder in Oregon” today on iHeartRadio!
Murder in Oregon