The Orange County District Attorney's office says it will seek the death penalty for Steven Dean Gordon, the 46-year-old accused of joining with another sex offender to kidnap, rape and murder four women in Anaheim.
A special circumstances committee composed of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, his senior assistant, the assistant district attorney in charge of Homicide and other prosecutors experienced in capital cases met to discuss the case and consider “mitigating circumstances presented by the defense attorney” before reaching a decision, the OCDA says in a press statement issued Friday.
Gordon, who has a pretrial hearing scheduled Jan. 22, was indicted by the grand jury on Oct. 2, 2014, on four felony counts of special circumstances murder during the commission of rape, kidnapping, lying in wait, and multiple murders. He is also charged with four felony counts of forcible rape. Co-defendant Franc Cano, 29, and also of Anaheim, was indicted the same day on the same charges. He has a pre-trial hearing scheduled Jan. 29.
Both were registered sex offenders under federal supervision through GPS anklets, and they camped together in the back of an east Anaheim paint and body shop. They allegedly kidnapped these women and brought them to the shop to rape and murder them: 20-year-old Kianna Jackson on Oct. 6, 2013; 34-year-old Josephine Vargas on Oct. 24, 2013; and 28-year-old Martha Anaya on Nov. 12, 2013.
On March 14, 2014, Gordon and Cano are accused of kidnapping 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp from west Anaheim and taking her to the shop to rape and murder her. That same day, the Anaheim Police Department received a call about a body found on the conveyer belt at a recycling plant in east Anaheim.
Investigators determined that Estepp had been working the streets in Anaheim, and a GPS check determined Cano had allegedly been in the same areas as the victim. He and Gordon were later linked to that murder and, through a check of GPS monitoring, the three women who has disappeared in Santa Ana. Their bodies have not been recovered.