Accusations flew of sacrifice, drinking blood, sexual abuse and the invocation of demonic forces but it was wasn’t Salem, and the year wasn’t 1692.The conviction of Daniel and Frances Keller took place in Travis County, Texas, three centuries later amid what became, quite literally, a modern-day witch hunt.Hampton’s attempt was unsuccessful, and in the end it was the district attorney that filed for dismissal of the case.
Given the current state of law on actual innocence and the evidence remaining in this case, I believe this to be a just outcome.
The couple described in an interview with local television station KXAN their horror at hearing they had been found guilty and sentenced to 48 years.
Frances Keller tearfully recounted fainting while being led out of the courthouse: In 2015, Hampton tried to get the court to enter an opinion reconsidering the Kellers’ guilt, because he said that he knows that another moral panic is inevitable, and when it happens, he wants an opinion on record for legal reference.
The Kellers were not the only ones to face outlandish charges; in the 1980s and early ’90s, a phenomenon that has since become known as “Satanic Panic” was sweeping the nation.
A confluence of societal factors led to widespread hysteria about Satanists who were hidden in plain view and running clandestine, national child sex abuse rings.