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Recent federal court filings say legal obstacles are being cleared to the release of the man once convicted of killing a former Oregon corrections department director

COURTESY SALEM STATESMAN-JOURNAL - Frank Gable in prison in an undated photo.The convicted but arguably cleared killer of former Oregon Department of Corrections Director Michael Francke could be released from prison within a week, if not sooner.

Oregon U.S. Oregon District Court Judge Michael Simon has vacated a nine-year federal firearms sentence facing Frank Gable, the petty Salem criminal convicted of killing Francke on Jan. 17, 1989. That clears the way for Gable to go free after U.S. Oregon District Court Magistrate Judge John Acosta reversed his conviction on April 18, ruling Gable is probably innocent and did not receive a fair trial.

Acosta ordered that Gable be either released or retried within 90 days. The U.S. Bureau of Prison had refused to credit the nearly 30 years Gable has already served in prison against the nine year federal sentence. Simon entered an order staying the enforcement of the federal sentence and directed the U.S. Marshal Service to remove its detainer against Gable.

The Oregon Department of Justice is appealing Acosta's ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Although Gable could be released as soon as Thursday, June 27, the state is requesting a one-week delay.

But, according to recent court filings, both sides agree to the conditions under which Gable would be released. Among other things, he would be under federal supervision, not have any contact with any witnesses in his 1991 trial, and surrender himself to state custody if the appeal reverses Acosta's ruling.

During the appeal, Gable could be released from a prison in Lansing, Kansas, where he is currently imprisoned. He could be allowed to live with his wife, who he married in prison.

You can read previous Portland Tribune stories on the case at

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