REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) — The Showtime docuseries ‘Buried’ has rekindled interest in one of the most famous San Francisco Bay Area murder trials — the “repressed memory” case against George Franklin Sr., who initially was sentenced to life in prison for allegedly bludgeoning his daughter’s childhood friend to death.
The first episode of the four-part docuseries debuted Sunday night. It has sparked interest not only in repressed memory testimony, but also in the more than 50-year-old cold-case murder of 8-year-old Susan Nason.READ MORE: FBI Gang Enforcement Operations Lead to Charges in 2 Attempted Homicides in East Bay
She disappeared while walking to school in Foster City on Sept. 22, 1969. Her decomposed body was found by a San Francisco Water Department employee three months later under a mattress near the Crystal Springs Reservoir.
The original conviction pivoted upon the repressed memory of Eileen Franklin-Lipsker, who told the court she had flashbacks triggered by looking at her own young daughter of seeing her father kill Nason, her childhood best friend.
George Franklin Sr. always proclaimed his innocence, but he was convicted in 1991 in San Mateo Superior Court. A district court judge later reviewed the case and overturned it in 1995 based on several trial errors.READ MORE: Conservatives to QAnon: Facebook Researchers Saw How Its Algorithms Led to Misinformation
Among the biggest came when Janice Franklin revealed that her sister’s repressed memory was recalled through hypnosis. Because the state Supreme Court had ruled that testimony based on memories “recovered” by hypnosis was unreliable, Eileen could have been barred from taking the stand.
Eventually, prosecutors decided not to retry the case and Franklin was released.
Franklin-Lipsker also claimed her father killed 18-year-old Veronica Cascio and 17-year-old Paula Baxter. Both were found stabbed to death in 1976, seven years after Nason’s death, in a case dubbed “The Gypsy Hill Killings.”
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In 2018, the DNA evidence linked Rodney Lynn Halbower to those murders. He was convicted of both murders and sentenced to life in prison.