Corruption, Murder, and the Pursuit of Justice

In Murder in Oregon, host Lauren Bright Pacheco takes listeners back to 1989 Salem, Oregon where the state’s Director of Corrections, Michael Francke, was murdered. Soon after his death, authorities pinned the murder on a low-level meth dealer. Murder in Oregon looks into the murder through the lenses of Francke’s brothers and a local journalist who believe that authorities got it wrong–that Francke is dead because he knew too much.murder-in-oregon

 A Long Road to True Crime Podcasts

Lauren Bright Pacheco has found a home in the podcast community. She and Mary Payne discussed how they enjoy media productions in which the subjects can drive the narrative and their voices can be heard. 

Previously, Lauren was a TV producer on the Dr. Oz show where she met Melissa Moore, daughter of Keith Hunter Jesperson (the infamous Happy Face killer). Lauren and Melissa produced a podcast about Melissa’s dad called Happy Face.

Lauren first heard of the Francke murder from journalist Phil Stanford during her production of the Happy Face. Phil worked for the Oregonian newspaper at the time of Francke’s murder, where his ensuing obsession with the case almost derailed his career. The more Lauren learned about the complex and compelling case, the more her fascination grew. She decided to start a podcast on this story and began production in March 2019.

The Murder of Michael Francke

Murder in Oregon takes listeners to the night of Francke’s murder, where he was stabbed to death next to his car outside of his office in Salem. The murder was ruled a “car burglary gone wrong,” even though the suspect didn’t steal his watch, wallet, or any money. The murderer did, however, steal his laptop and floppy disks–just before Francke planned to present evidence of endemic corruption and an organized criminal element within his department. 

Authorities convicted low-level meth dealer Frank Gable of killing Francke. He was sentenced to 30 years in jail. Phil Stanford, along with Francke’s brothers, Pat and Kevin, believe Gable is innocent. The podcast gives these three compelling and compassionate characters a platform to argue why they believe that the Gable arrest was a coverup–and why the real truth would implicate powerful figures in Oregon. 

The Story is Not Over

Frank Gable was released from prison after his 30-year sentence in June 2019. However, the State of Oregon plans to appeal his release and put him back behind bars. Gable’s defense attorney, Lisa C. Hay, is presenting a strong argument for Gable’s innocence. Meanwhile, Lauren, Phil, Pat, and Kevin continue to hunt down the truth. 

Catch up on all of the Payne in the Pod episodes, here. And don’t forget, Payne in the Pod is on Patreon – become a Patron

Podcast Recommendations: 

Next Question with Katie Couric  


Ridiculous History

Done Disappeared 

Find Lauren at:

Personal Twitter: @BrightPacheco

Podcast Twitter: @MurderinOregon