TC News: Chainsaw-murderer professor dies in prison

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Hoover, J.E.

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Oct 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/24/97
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Devotees of true-crime may remember this case. A respected,
mild-mannered professor at a university in northern California, Max
Franc lived a secret gay lifestyle in Los Angeles' West Hollywood area,
picking up street hookers and compiling a vast pornography collection
which he kept in a secret room.

On August 10, 1987, Franc killed an 18-year-old prostitute, one Tracy
Nute, at his West Hollywood apartment, then dismembered the body in his
bathtub. He discarded the body parts all over northern California.

For a man who coveted secrecy, Franc's downfall was uncharacteristic.
He had used a chainsaw to dismember the body, which he had rented from a
local store. He returned the chainsaw to the shop with blood and flesh
still dangling from it(!) The shop called the police, and the professor
was soon in custody. From there it got worse. He claimed that he had
run over a dog and had used the chainsaw to dismember the dog. The
police, for some reason, did not believe him. He then claimed a
transient had killed the hooker, but police were apparently in a
skeptical mood that day.

Franc died, Sept. 18, of a heart attack while serving 25 years to life.

-J. Edgar Hoover


from The West Hollywood Independent
October 22, 1997

Murderer dies

A former Cal State Fresno professor, who killed a teenage male
prostitute in West Hollywood, cut the body up and scattered it hundreds
apart along Interstate 5, died in prison last month. In 1988, then
58-year-old Max Bernard Franc was sentenced to 25 years to life in
prison for the Aug. 10, 1987 murder of Tracy Leroy Nute, 18. A prison
spokesman said Franc died of a heart attack on Sept. 18.
Franc shot Nute once in the head while the two were at a West
Hollywood apartment the professor rented, then dismembered the body in a
bathtub, according to trial testimony. Nute's body parts were found
near Valencia and in Madera County.
Franc, described by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge as a Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde, was arrested after flesh and blood were found on the
rented chainsaw he returned to a Hollywood equipment shop. He claimed
he had cut up a dog after running over it in Beverly Hills. Then he
said a transient killed Nute. A defense attorney described Franc as a
"wimp" and too gentle to commit such a gruesome killing.
Franc taught public administration at Fresno State, where he worked
from 1969 until his arrest.

PattyC4303

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Oct 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/25/97
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In article <34515C...@absurd.net>, "Hoover, J.E."
<highp...@absurd.net> writes:

>Devotees of true-crime may remember this case. A respected,
>mild-mannered professor at a university in northern California, Max
>Franc lived a secret gay lifestyle in Los Angeles' West Hollywood area,
>picking up street hookers and compiling a vast pornography collection
>which he kept in a secret room.
>
>On August 10, 1987, Franc killed an 18-year-old prostitute, one Tracy
>Nute, at his West Hollywood apartment, then dismembered the body in his
>bathtub. He discarded the body parts all over northern California.
>
>For a man who coveted secrecy, Franc's downfall was uncharacteristic.
>He had used a chainsaw to dismember the body, which he had rented from a
>local store. He returned the chainsaw to the shop with blood and flesh
>still dangling from it(!) The shop called the police, and the professor
>was soon in custody. From there it got worse. He claimed that he had
>run over a dog and had used the chainsaw to dismember the dog. The
>police, for some reason, did not believe him. He then claimed a
>transient had killed the hooker, but police were apparently in a
>skeptical mood that day.
>
>Franc died, Sept. 18, of a heart attack while serving 25 years to life.
>
>-J. Edgar Hoover


Did I read a book about this? The Professor and the Prostitute? It was
not such a great book, as I recall... but do you think it is the same case?

PattyC

Chris Noble

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Oct 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/25/97
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patty,

You may be recalling a similar case from Detroit, where a married
psychologist became obsessed with a Cass Avenue hooker, whose
ill-tempered pimp eventually killed and dismembered the psychologist,
and disposed of the body parts by scattering them along various
highways in plastic garbage bags. I cannot recall the name of the
book with certainty, but it may have been called "Masquerade".

glas

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Oct 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/25/97
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PattyC4303 wrote:

> Did I read a book about this? The Professor and the Prostitute?
> It was
> not such a great book, as I recall... but do you think it is the
> same case?

Nope. The Professor and the Prostitute was a case where out of New
England. This Professor (name eludes me right now) was seeing a
hooker named Robyn. He fell in love, she was saving for a house, he
started embezzling money from the college to pay for her attention and
affection. When she tired of him and he had run out of sources for
cash, he killed her with a hammer and dumped the body. It is a very
sad story. I thought that an entire book about it was a bit much,
more like a few chapters like Ann Rule does sometimes in her books
would have been more appropriate, but it was a very interesting story
about passion and desperation.

glas
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A good friend will help you move....
A REAL friend will help you move a body : )
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bored?...Try this -
http://www.interaxs.net/pub/glas/

PattyC4303

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Oct 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/25/97
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In article <3451e5a7....@192.141.53.10>, Wo...@the.door (Lisa B) writes:

>patty...@aol.com (PattyC4303) wrote:
>
>>Did I read a book about this? The Professor and the Prostitute? It was
>>not such a great book, as I recall... but do you think it is the same case?
>

>Don't think so. *That* professor was hetero. His hooker (Robyn?)
>started squeezing him for all the money she could. When he ran out of
>funds, he got frantic & killed her with a hammer.
>
>Lisa (remove Spamalama.to reply)
>acq_...@dayton.Spamalama.lib.oh.us

THAT's the book I read. Though the other one in this thread also sounds
interesting.

PattyC

Hoover, J.E.

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Oct 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/25/97
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PattyC4303 wrote:
> In article <34515C...@absurd.net>, "Hoover, J.E."
> <highp...@absurd.net> writes:
>
> >Devotees of true-crime may remember this case. A respected,
> >mild-mannered professor at a university in northern California, Max
> >Franc lived a secret gay lifestyle in Los Angeles' West Hollywood area,
> >picking up street hookers and compiling a vast pornography collection
> >which he kept in a secret room.
> >
> >On August 10, 1987, Franc killed an 18-year-old prostitute, one Tracy
> >Nute, at his West Hollywood apartment, then dismembered the body in his
> >bathtub. He discarded the body parts all over northern California.
> ><snip>

>
> Did I read a book about this? The Professor and the Prostitute? It was
> not such a great book, as I recall... but do you think it is the same case?

I think that is a different case. For some reason, this case has never
merited much attention. It probably deserves a chapter in somewhere.

Cybil

unread,
Oct 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM10/25/97
to PattyC4303

Someone else may have already answered but...

The book you're thinking of is about a Tufts Professor and a stripper
here in Boston. I remember the case well - they never found her body
and they believe it was dumped in a trash can off Rt. 95 and taken to a
landfill - they spent days (if not weeks) looking for it.


PattyC4303 wrote:
>
> In article <34515C...@absurd.net>, "Hoover, J.E."
> <highp...@absurd.net> writes:
>
> >Devotees of true-crime may remember this case. A respected,
> >mild-mannered professor at a university in northern California, Max
> >Franc lived a secret gay lifestyle in Los Angeles' West Hollywood area,
> >picking up street hookers and compiling a vast pornography collection
> >which he kept in a secret room.
> >
> >On August 10, 1987, Franc killed an 18-year-old prostitute, one Tracy
> >Nute, at his West Hollywood apartment, then dismembered the body in his
> >bathtub. He discarded the body parts all over northern California.
> >

> >For a man who coveted secrecy, Franc's downfall was uncharacteristic.
> >He had used a chainsaw to dismember the body, which he had rented from a
> >local store. He returned the chainsaw to the shop with blood and flesh
> >still dangling from it(!) The shop called the police, and the professor
> >was soon in custody. From there it got worse. He claimed that he had
> >run over a dog and had used the chainsaw to dismember the dog. The
> >police, for some reason, did not believe him. He then claimed a
> >transient had killed the hooker, but police were apparently in a
> >skeptical mood that day.
> >
> >Franc died, Sept. 18, of a heart attack while serving 25 years to life.
> >
> >-J. Edgar Hoover
>

> Did I read a book about this? The Professor and the Prostitute? It was
> not such a great book, as I recall... but do you think it is the same case?
>

> PattyC

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