California sex offender gets life for killing 4 women

Dec 15, 2022, 2:39 AM | Updated: 8:11 pm
Franc Cano listens to victim impact statements in court in Santa Ana, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 15, 20...

Franc Cano listens to victim impact statements in court in Santa Ana, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Cano pled guilty to his part in the abduction, sexual assault and killing of four women in 2013 and 2014. (Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register via AP)

(Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register via AP)

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California sex offender who with his best friend kidnapped, raped and killed four women, some of them while wearing a GPS tracker, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole.

Franc Cano, 36, entered murder pleas in Orange County and was immediately sentenced.

Cano, who has been in custody since 2014, entered the pleas after county District Attorney Todd Spitzer took a potential death penalty off the table, the DA’s office said in a statement.

“Pursuing the death penalty was not an appropriate punishment based on the entire reassessment of the case,” said Spitzer, who called Cano a monster. “I am thankful I met with each victim and they concur with my decision.”

He didn’t explain further.

Cano’s attorney, Chuck Hasse, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Cano and another convicted sex offender, Steven Gordon, were indicted in 2014 after data from GPS monitors they wore because of previous separate sex crimes tied them to 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, whose naked body was discovered on the conveyor belt at an Anaheim recycling facility that same year.

Gordon, 53, acted as his own attorney at trial and said he deserved the death penalty, although he contended that Cano strangled the women. He was convicted by a jury in 2016 and sentenced to death.

Cano acknowledged that in 2013 and 2014 he killed Estepp along with 20-year-old Kianna Jackson, 34-year-old Josephine Vargas and 28-year-old Martha Anaya.

The bodies of the other three victims were never found.

Authorities have said they believe the men knew each other since at least 2010. The men met while both were homeless.

Gordon was on probation after serving a federal prison term for molesting his nephew, and Cano was on parole after a state conviction for molesting a 9-year-old niece, authorities said.

“Despite being legally prohibited from being associated with each other due to their registered sex offender status, Cano and Gordon were transients who camped in the back of a paint and body shop in Anaheim,” Spitzer’s office said.

“While on GPS monitoring, Cano and Gordon patrolled the streets of Anaheim and Santa Ana looking for young sex workers to abduct,” it added.

The men slept in a Toyota 4Runner in an Anaheim industrial area where Gordon did odd jobs, and they took their victims to a nearby RV to rape and kill them, authorities said.

They wore GPS devices during at least three of the murders, according to grand jury testimony.

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California sex offender gets life for killing 4 women