Kellers Back in the News
Vanity Fair Confidential airs special on wrongly convicted couple
The Fran and Dan Keller story popped up in an unusual place last week: the Vanity Fair Confidential documentary series (on the Investigation Discovery TV channel, also available for $1.99 on YouTube). "Nightmares on Main Street" recounts the decades-long ordeal of the Kellers, who spent 21 years in prison for alleged "satanic ritual abuse" crimes at their Oak Hill day care center – that is, for crimes that never happened. The "forensic files" documentary style is jarringly melodramatic – heavy with jump cuts, brooding music and somber narration, and manufactured suspense – and is far too credulous of the nationwide Eighties "Satanic Panic" prosecutions. But the Kellers tell their story movingly and convincingly, and their attorney Keith Hampton and former Chronicle reporter Jordan Smith lay out in detail the hysterical prosecution and eventual overturning of the verdict. The broadcast has been followed by a desperately needed spike in the GoFundMe campaign supporting Fran and Dan (www.gofundme.com/thekellers), and Hampton continues to work toward a long-delayed full exoneration. For more, see "Believing the Children," March 27, 2009, and "Learning From Our Mistakes," March 11, 2016.