PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man who has spent nearly three decades in prison for the 1989 killing of Oregon’s prisons director was freed Friday while the state appeals the ruling that led to his release.
Frank Gable left prison after a U.S. magistrate found in April that the trial court made an error in excluding evidence of third-party guilt, The Oregonian/OregonLive reports .
U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta also found that Gable’s attorneys provided him with “ineffective assistance in failing to assert Gable’s federal due process rights in the face of the trial court’s error.”
Gable, now 59, left the prison in Lansing, Kansas, and had to report directly to a federal probation officer in Kansas City. He’ll be allowed to live with his wife in Kansas.
“We don’t really want to talk about the case or nothing, just glad to be out,” Gable told Fox 4 News.
“He thanks those who believed in his innocence all these years,” said Nell Brown, one of two assistant federal public defenders who represented Gable in challenging the murder conviction.
Francke’s brothers, Pat and Kevin Francke, have been staunch defenders of Gable and believe he was wrongly convicted.
Gable was convicted in the stabbing death in Salem of prisons chief Michael Francke, 42, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He must participate in drug and mental health assessments and counseling as directed by the U.S. Pretrial Services Office. Gable was not placed on electronic monitoring, although the state urged it.
The April ruling came after multiple witnesses recanted their testimony and defense lawyers cited a record of improper interrogation and flawed polygraphs used to question witnesses and shape their statements to police.
Acosta then ordered Gable to be released or retried within 90 days of his order.
The state’s appeal contends another man’s confession was unreliable because he had changed his account multiple times.