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Austin Woman Set To Be Released From Prison In "Satanic Ritual Abuse" Case

Fran Keller at the Crain Unit in Gatesville on August 26, 2013.
Karen Bernstein for KUT News
Fran Keller at the Crain Unit in Gatesville on August 26, 2013.

The is reporting that Francis Keller will be released from prison in Texas. Keller has spent the last 20 years behind bars for a crime that many say never even happened.

Debbie Nathan of the National Center for Reason and Justice told Texas Public Radio that the release could happen as soon at today.

It is one of Texas’ most high profile cases of satanic ritual sexual abuse. In 1991 Fran Keller and her husband Dan were accused of sexually abusing a three-year-old girl who attended their day care center in Oak Hill, a community in Southwest Austin.

After a six-day trial in 1993, the Kellers were convicted and given sentences of 48 years each. But immediately there were calls of injustice as the child has now said no abuse had taken place, but she had been instructed to make that claim.

There was no physical evidence of abuse. There were flawed medical exams of the children and there were serious doubts about the testimony of a so-called "expert" in satanic ritual abuse. There was also an allegation of prosecutorial misconduct with the prosecution withholding information from the defense.

In January, Austin defense attorney Keith Hampton filed a 108-page writ appealing the conviction arguing that key pieces of evidence have now been discredited.

Copyright 2020 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit .

David Martin Davies is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering Texas, the border and Mexico.