Half of the pair of alleged serial killers of prostitutes in Orange County confessed to police about the murders, the disposal of bodies in trash bins and how there was a fifth, yet-to-be-identified victim, according to a grand jury transcript unsealed Monday.
Steven Dean Gordon made the admissions the day of his arrest, during 13 1/2 hours of interrogation by Anaheim Police Detective Julissa Trapp, who was told how the 45-year-old and his accomplice Franc Cano, 27, randomly chose five women to rape, strangle and throw out like garbage, according to the transcript.
"He would actually stop me and tell me he wanted to talk about them in order," Trapp told the grand jury of Gordon. "I mean, he had actually rearranged the photographs I had shown him and put them in order."
Actually, he initially tried to take the fall for all the slayings, saying that each time he just wanted to have sex with the women but that things got out of control and the killings were "crimes of passion," according to the grand jury testimony. At one point, Gordon said he wanted to speak to Cano, but Trapp lied that his partner didn't want to talk to him, which caused Gordon to change his tune and concede both suspects picked up of the prostitutes and killed them, the detective testified.
The slayings were carried out during a five-month period that ended March 14, when the nude body of 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp of Oklahoma was found on the conveyor belt of an Anaheim rubbish and recycling facility. She had become a regular on a strip of Beach Boulevard in Anaheim long known for prostitution.
The grand jury transcript indicates Anaheim Police Detective Bruce Linn jumped onto the conveyor belt to analyze the trash around Estepp's body and found a tube of caulking that led investigators to Boss Body and Paint, 3421 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Estepp's fingerprints were found on a recycling bin there, and investigators also learned Gordon parked his RV and sometimes worked odd jobs at the shop.
Meanwhile, after it was determined Estepp had been raped, Linn's partner Trapp checked for registered sex offenders in the area and discovered one such soul, Cano, would sometimes stay with Gordon in the RV. The GPS tracking device parolee Cano wore put him near the site of Estepp's last phone call the afternoon before her body was found, according to the grand jury testimony.
Cell phone records indicated Cano constantly texted Gordon, which led investigators to not only suspect the pair worked together but that they might be responsible for other outstanding cases involving missing prostitutes in Orange County.
Santa Ana Police have said the tracking anklets worn by Cano and Gordon played roles in implicating them in the murders of Kianna Jackson, 20, of Las Vegas; Josephine Monique Vargas, 34, of Santa Ana; and Martha Anaya, 28, of Santa Ana. The three women were last seen in Santa Ana--two in an area known for prostitution--and there bodies have never been found. They are believed to be buried somewhere in landfills in Brea or Sylmar, based on what Gordon allegedly told Trapp about the bins he and Cano used to dispose of the deceased.
The court document alleges that Gordon said:
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* He picked up the women in his car while Cano hid in the back seat and overpowered them when they got in. * Each victim was raped behind an Anaheim paint and body shop where Gordon and Cano camped out. * Cano strangled the women and Gordon punched them in the stomach "to get the air out faster." * When one victim noticed Gordon's electronic anklet, he got angry. * Cano wrapped at least two of the women's bodies in garbage bags. * The two paid to have sex with Estepp, but when they were done Gordon asked Cano to leave and told her he wanted her to "make love to him like he was her boyfriend." Estepp "complied." * When Cano later woke them up, Gordon asked her to do it again, but she said she wanted to leave. A fight ensued, and Estepp sprayed both men with mace. * Gordon did not want to kill Estepp because she was beautiful, but Cano reminded Gordon that if he didn't, he would have to find a way to remove their DNA from her body. * After she was unconscious and Cano was looking away, Gordon tried to kiss her. That pissed off Cano, who stomped on her neck several times to kill her.
Both suspects pleaded not guilty at their arraignment hearing, but old text messages are doing neither much good when it comes to fending off allegations they killed Estepp, according to the grand jury transcript. "This is the best one yet," Gordon allegedly texted Cano about the young woman. Cano is claimed to have texted back it was Gordon's turn to kill and to use "happy hands"--meaning strangle her. Gordon is accused of texting Cano, "cat is beautiful" and, in reference to Estepp fighting back, "can't hurt this cat."
DNA samples from Estepp's body also aren't doing Cano and Gordon any favors. Despite being registered sex offenders, neither had DNA in any law enforcement database. Detectives collected Cano's from a water bottle after questioning him and matched it to the rape kit done on Estepp, according to the grand jury testimony, which indicates cops also got a hit on Gordon's DNA.