LOS ANGELES -- A former college professor, likened by a judge to 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,' was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in state prison for shooting a male prostitute and dismembering his body with a chain saw.
Max Bernard Franc, 58, a former California State University-Fresno public administration professor, was convicted in June of the first-degree murder of Tracy Nute, 18, in the professor's West Hollywood apartment.
Prosecutors said Franc shot Nute to death in a 'homosexual rage' last August, then rented a chain saw from a nearby store and cut up his body to dispose of it.
Nute's head and torso were found on a rural road 20 miles north of Fresno on Aug. 25. The arms and legs of the Kansas City, Mo., native were found on the Golden State Freeway in the Los Angeles suburb of Valencia on Aug. 27.
In sentencing Franc to the maximum state prison term, Superior Court Judge John Reid said, 'An analogy has to be drawn to a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- two different personalites.'
The judge was referring to Franc's twin lifestyles -- that of a quiet, respected college professor in Fresno and that of a homosexual voyeur in West Hollywood, where he took hundreds of pictures of naked boys and young men engaged in sex acts.
Franc, a native of De Pere, Wis., described by his attorney as a 'wimp' and a 'sissy' incapable of violence, said nothing and showed no emotion during his sentencing. The former professor, who resigned from Cal State Fresno in December, will be eligible for parole after serving about 12 years of his sentence.
Franc, a native of De Pere, Wis., said nothing and showed no emotion during his sentencing.
Prior to sentencing, Reid denied motions made by Deputy Public Defender Mark Kaiserman to grant Franc a new trial, to reduce his conviction to second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, and to place him on probation.
Kaiserman argued during the trial that a street person named Terry Adams killed Nute in self-defense. Adams, however, has never been located. Deputy District Attorney Sterling Norris argued that Adams never existed.
Norris opposed the defense motions. He said Franc 'ought to feel lucky that he doesn't go to the gas chamber for this crime.'
Franc did not face the death penalty because he was not charged with any so-called special circumstance allegations, which are necessary in California for a capital conviction.
He had initially been charged with two such special circumstances, that the murder of Nute was particularly 'heinous,' and that that it was committed during a robbery.
The first allegation was dismissed because the California Supreme Court found it to be too vague. The second was dismissed because of insufficient evidence of a robbery.
Reid denied the defense motions for a new trial, saying 'circumstantial evidence was overwhelming in this case.'
The judge cited the facts that Franc obtained the gun used in the killing the day before Nute was slain and that Franc rented the chain saw and spent a considerable amount of time in the rental store learning how to use it.
Franc's sister, Carol Waiters, implored the judge to allow Franc, whom she described as a 'brillant' educator, to utilize his teaching skills in some manner in prison.
While making no specific order, the judge told Franc he hopes he can continue his studies in prison and perhaps use his teaching skills to help educate some of the other inmates.
'I hope you do something beneficial with the rest of your life,' the judge said. 'It's a shame it has to come to this. But these are your acts.'