Crime & Justice

Orange County sex offenders plead not guilty to 4 murders

This combination of undated photos from the Megan's Law website shows suspects, Stephen Dean Gordon, 45, left, and Franc Cano, 27, who were arrested on Friday, April 11, 2014, on suspicion of killing four women in Orange County,
This combination of undated photos from the Megan's Law website shows suspects, Stephen Dean Gordon, 45, left, and Franc Cano, 27, who were arrested on Friday, April 11, 2014, on suspicion of killing four women in Orange County,
Uncredited/AP

Two convicted sex offenders have pleaded not guilty to raping and killing four women while wearing GPS monitors.

Franc Cano,27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, entered their pleas in Santa Ana Monday. They were both charged with four murders and four counts of rape, as well as special circumstances charges of committing multiple murders and committing murder during rape. 

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin told KPCC both have prior strike offenses, including child molestation convictions. The two, he said, are eligible to receive the death penalty.

"Both defendents are charged with capital murder, which means that — should the district attorney seek it... — they are eligible for the death penalty," he said. 

According to the Associated Press, the two were caught, in part, due to the ankle monitors they were wearing at the time of the murders:

Authorities say data from the GPS monitors helped them link the pair to the slaying of a woman whose body was found at an Anaheim trash-sorting plant in March and the disappearance of three women in Orange County last year.

Police told the Associated Press they're also investigating Cano and Gordon in the possible death of a fifth woman, according to the AP, but Yellin said the D.A. has no plans yet to file charges on another case.

"Anaheim is continuing to do whatever they can to determine if there are additional victims, but there's nothing forthcoming as far as additional charges."

Authorities also told the AP that Cano was being tracked by state parole agents say at the time of the deaths, while Gordon was tracked by federal probation agents. 

Priscilla Vargas, the mother of one of the victims, spoke with reporters outside the courtroom Monday afternoon, telling NBC4 she didn't know how the alleged murderers could have been overlooked . 

"I thank God if they are the ones that hurt my daughter that they're in custody,"  Vargas said. "And I don't know how their probation and parole officers weren't aware of it."

Attorneys expect to be back in court June 6 for a pretrial conference, where they expect to set up preliminary hearing dates for the case, Deputy D.A. Yellin said.