SANTA ANA, Calif. – Two sex offenders charged with raping and killing four California women while wearing GPS monitors had escaped parole supervision and left the state together more than once in the four years before their most recent arrest, The Associated Press learned Friday.
Steven Dean Gordon, 45, and Franc Cano, 27, were arrested together out-of-state in 2010 and 2012 after escaping parole supervision, according to public records and officials. They were again together when they were arrested in April and charged with working in tandem to sexually assault and murder four California women.
Earlier this month, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, asked the inspector general of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to review the monitoring of both men, as well as the overall monitoring of sex offender parolees and, in particular, homeless parolees. Both Cano and Gordon were homeless.
"It's awful. It makes me furious," said Jodi Pier-Estepp, the mother of victim Jarrae Nykkole Estepp said Friday when told of the earlier arrest. "If California was doing their job, my daughter would still be alive and so would those other girls."
In 2010, Cano cut off his GPS device and fled to Alabama, where he was arrested with Gordon, said Luis Patino, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Parole records show he and Gordon were sent back to prison for five months.
Two years later, both clipped off their electronic ankle bracelets and took a bus to Las Vegas. They were arrested two weeks later, according to court documents.
Both men pleaded not guilty this week in Orange County to raping and killing Estepp and three other women.
The GPS devices are not intended to prevent crime among those wearing them and parole agents would have no way of knowing the two were together, said Patino, the corrections spokesman.
"There is a certain myth about what GPS monitoring can do," Patino said. "It gives us a track of where that person was at any particular time, but there is no alarm that goes off if one GPS monitor comes within a proximity of the other," he said.
Authorities say data from the GPS monitors helped link the pair to the slaying of Estepp, whose body was found at an Anaheim trash-sorting plant in March and the disappearance of three women in Orange County last year.