SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Two registered sex offenders accused of raping and killing four women in Santa Ana and Anaheim after being fitted with GPS trackers have pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges.
Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, are both charged with four counts of murder and rape, with special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a rape, multiple murders and lying in wait.
Cano's plea was entered Monday by his defense attorney, Houman Fakhimi. Gordon is represented by Associate Public Defender's Office.
The discovery 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp's body on a conveyor belt at an Anaheim trash-sorting plant last month was the key to breaking the case, according to Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada.
Three other women, Santa Ana residents Josephine Vargas, 34, and Martha Anaya, 28, last seen on October 24 and November 12, 2013, respectively, and 20-year-old Kianna Jackson, of Las Vegas, last seen in Santa Ana on October 6, 2013, were allegedly killed by the men. Their bodies have not yet been found.
Anaheim police say both suspects, who will remain in custody without bail, were required to wear ankle bracelets when the women were assaulted and killed last fall and earlier this year.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin told City News Service Cano was previously convicted in 2008 of lewd and lascivious acts on a child younger than 14.
Gordon, he said, has two convictions from 1992 for lewd and lascivious acts on a child younger than 14, as well as kidnapping his estranged wife in 2002.
Yellin said the men both pleaded guilty last year to failing to register as sex offenders in Nevada. Federal court documents show they were sentenced to time served.
Both were on federal probation and Cano was on state parole, Yellin said.
Both men are scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing June 6.
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