A man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to kidnapping, raping and killing four Orange County women while he was on GPS monitoring.
Franc Cano, 36, of Anaheim, was indicted by a grand jury in 2014 on four counts of special circumstance murder, four counts of forcible rape and additional special circumstances of murder during the commission of a rape, multiple murders, lying in wait and kidnapping, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.
His co-defendant, 53-year-old Steven Dean Gordon, also of Anaheim, was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death in 2017.
The two men were identified as suspects in the killings after DNA and GPS monitoring data tied them to the body of 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, who was discovered on a conveyer belt at an Anaheim recycling facility in March 2014.
Both men were convicted pedophiles and were being tracked by GPS.
The bodies of the other victims, Kianna Jackson, 20, Josephine Vargas, 34, Martha Anaya, 28, have not been recovered.
Cano was facing the death penalty, too, but after a thorough review of the case, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer decided life in prison without parole was the “appropriate punishment” for the defendant.
After being informed of the decision, Cano pleaded guilty.
Cano and Gordon were transients who camped in the back of a paint and body shop in Anaheim. Authorities said they patrolled the streets of Anaheim and Santa Ana looking for young sex workers to abduct.
The men kidnapped Jackson from Santa Ana on Oct. 6, 2013, took her to the body shop where they were living and raped and killed her, officials said.
On Oct. 24, 2013, they kidnapped Vargas from Santa Ana and raped and murdered her at the same shop.
On Nov. 13, 2013, the men kidnapped Anaya from Santa Ana and raped and murdered her at the shop.
On March 13, 2013, Estepp was kidnapped in west Anaheim and was raped and murdered by the men, officials said.
Her body was found the next day, and detectives linked Cano to the victim by running a sex offender GPS check. The defendants’ DNA was also found on Estepp’s body, officials said.
GPS and cellphone technology led to Gordon being identified as a co-defendant in all four killings.
On Dec. 15, 2016, Gordon was convicted of four felony counts of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for kidnapping and multiple murders. He was sentenced to the death penalty on Feb. 3, 2017.
“Franc Cano and Steven Gordon are the things of nightmares,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a news release. “In this case pursuing the death penalty was not an appropriate punishment based on the entire reassessment of the case. I am thankful I met with each [victim’s family] and they concur with my decision.”