Sex offenders wearing GPS monitors indicted on murder, rape charges in California

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SANTA ANA, California — Two sex offenders were indicted Thursday after authorities said they raped and killed four women while the men wore GPS tracking monitors.

Franc Cano, 28, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were charged with murder with special circumstances — including lying in wait, rape and kidnapping — and forcible rape, the Orange County District Attorney's office said.

If convicted, the men could face a minimum sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Cano and Gordon worked together to sexually assault and kill the California women while the men were wearing the tracking devices ordered after prior sex crimes.

The monitoring systems helped investigators link the pair to the slayings earlier this year after the body of Jarrae Nykkole Estepp was found at an Anaheim trash sorting plant.

Messages were left for the men's attorneys seeking comment. Gordon and Cano were expected to be arraigned Friday in Orange County Superior Court.

The case has raised questions about the effectiveness of GPS devices and other forms of parole supervision in tracking offenders and deterring them from committing new crimes.

Parole records show the men had escaped supervision together before. In 2010, Cano cut off his GPS device and fled to Alabama, where he was arrested with Gordon. The two were arrested in Las Vegas two years later after cutting off their ankle bracelets, according to court records and state officials.

In addition to Estepp, the men are charged with killing Kianna Jackson, 20; Josephine Monique Vargas, 34; and Martha Anaya, 28, last fall in Santa Ana. Authorities searched for the bodies of the three women for months but gave up in August, saying it was unlikely they'd ever find them because too much time had passed.

Gordon and Cano have been in custody since their arrests in April.

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