Murder weapon found in professor's desk, witnesses say

LOS ANGELES -- A criminologist testified Monday that a gun found in the office desk of a Fresno college professor charged with killing a young male prostitute and dismembering his body was used in the slaying.

John Hamman, who works in Fresno for the state Department of Justice, said he tested the .38-caliber revolver and determined the bullet retrieved from the head of Tracy Leroy Nute, 19, was fired from the weapon.


Max Bernard Franc, a public administration professor at California State University, Fresno, was appearing at a preliminary hearing in Municipal Court to determine if there was enough evidence to order him to stand trial.

Mary Nieto, a secretary at the university, testified Friday that she found the revolver in Franc's desk Sept. 23 after she was told by her department chairman to clean out his office.

Prosectors claim Franc shot Nute -- a Kansas City, Mo., native who authorities said turned to prostitution when he needed money -- in a 'homosexual rage' and then dismembered the body with a rented chain saw.

Nute's torso was found on a remote ranch about 30 miles north of Fresno Aug. 25. His arms and legs were found near the Golden State Freeway in the Los Angeles suburb of Valencia two days later.


Franc's lawyer maintains the professor only rented the chain saw used to dismember Nute's body, but that someone else shot him.

The lawyer refused to identify the person, but the Fresno Bee, quoting sources close to the case, reported Sunday that Franc, 57, blames the murder on a young blond man named Terry Adams.

Raul Gutierrez, the manager of a Hollywood store where the saw was rented, testified Monday that Franc rented the saw, but that a blond man in his 20s returned it.

Franc has claimed that he had known Adams for about five years and that Adams had lived with him for a time in Fresno.

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