Man slain in home, wife hurt

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Man slain in home, wife hurt

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:12 am

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote:PITTSBURG

Man slain in home, wife hurt

<span class=postbold>Family disputes police theory that attack was somehow involved with illegal drugs </span>

- Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, January 11, 2007
The San Francisco Chronicle


<table class=posttable align=right width=300><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg width=300 src=bin/farrance_rex.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcap>Rex Farrance was well liked by people at work; the police allegations surprised his neighbors.</td></tr></table>Rex Farrance was a popular senior editor at PC World magazine in San Francisco, a physical-fitness buff and a family man known for his enthusiasm for life and his sensitivity to others, friends say.

But according to police, Farrance, 59, was involved with illegal drugs and possibly dealing them along with his wife at their Pittsburg home. The activity, police said Wednesday, led to a home-invasion robbery Tuesday night in which Farrance was killed and his wife, a registered nurse, was pistol-whipped.

However, Farrance's son, Sterling Farrance, 19, blasted the police assertion that his parents were involved with illegal drugs in any way. Sterling Farrance told The Chronicle on Wednesday night that he grew and stored medical marijuana at his parents' home with his father's permission.

"I have a prescription. I'm a patient. It was medical," he said. "This one officer I remember at the house, he had this predisposition to think it was all illegal."

At about 9 p.m. Tuesday, four masked men burst into the Farrance home on Argosy Court, a usually tranquil cul-de-sac near an elementary school. They fatally shot Rex Farrance in the chest and hit his wife in the head with a gun, Pittsburg police Inspector John Conaty said.

Rex Farrance's wife, Lenore Vantosh-Farrance, 56, called 911, but the assailants fled on foot before police arrived. No arrests have been made in what investigators said was a targeted attack possibly linked to narcotics.

"We have substantial reason to believe that the victim and his wife were involved in the possession of and, potentially, the distribution of illegal narcotics," said Conaty. He declined to specify what type of drug, saying only that a "considerable" amount was found in the home. Police also would not say whether the killers took anything from the house.

Vantosh-Farrance was treated at a hospital and released and unavailable for comment. Her daughter, Kavita Johnopoulos, 31, also rejected police statements that her mother and stepfather were involved with illegal drugs.

She said she believes Rex Farrance, an avid hunter, was targeted for money and guns because he's a member of the Bay Point Rod and Gun Club.

"It's sick that they would do this, that they would give false information on what's going on in that home," Johnopoulos said.

Co-workers and friends expressed shock at Rex Farrance's slaying and the alleged ties to drugs.

"I never went to his house or knew his wife, but he never came across as someone who would be dealing drugs," said Todd Fong, a former co-worker of Farrance at PC World. "Granted, things could have changed -- and I truly hope the police are wrong in their assumptions -- but the Rex I knew and will always remember was a great person."

Rex Farrance, who turned 59 on Sunday, had been an employee of PC World in San Francisco for 19 years and was senior technical editor, reviewing online and print articles for technical accuracy. He was also a fitness enthusiast and rock-music aficionado, friends said.

His wife has been a registered nurse in California since 1983 and is employed by Kaiser Permanente, according to acquaintances and public records. Neither Farrance nor his wife has an arrest record, authorities said.

PC World officials said Wednesday that they had no knowledge about the drug allegations and described Farrance as a well-liked, model employee.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Rex's untimely death," said Jeff Edman, president and CEO of PC World. "We will miss not only his many contributions, but also his friendship."

"We're all in shock here," said Denny Arar, a PC World senior editor. "Rex loved his work. He really cared about covering technology in a way that was useful for readers. He cared a lot about people, period."

Kimberly Brinson, PC World's managing editor, said Farrance was a "kind-hearted and gracious person who showed tremendous respect for others and their work."

As a technical editor, Farrance was "part teacher, part diplomat, and part historian, roles he served with great sensitivity and humor," Brinson said.

For part of Wednesday, police tape surrounded the couple's yellow, one-story home, which abuts Willow Cove Elementary School. A piece of plywood covered the damaged front door; Farrance's Cadillac was parked in the driveway.

Herculano Darosa, 54, who has lived on the street for 24 years, said he often saw Farrance jogging or exercising in the neighborhood. "He looked nice to me," said Darosa, who expressed shock at the police assertion that the couple were involved in drugs.

Another neighbor who wished to be identified only as Dan said, "We were absolutely shocked to see the police lights, and we were even more shocked to hear from the police that there was drugs going on. If they were into drugs, then they kept it well-hidden."

Chronicle staff writer Jason B. Johnson contributed to this report. E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

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PC World editor slain during home-invasion robbery

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:40 am

All I know is what I've read in the news, but I find myself thinking that if drug were there other than marijuana, the murderers planted tham and this is some kind of set-up.

The Los Angeles Times wrote:PC World editor slain during home-invasion robbery

By Eric Bailey, Times Staff Writer
January 12, 2007
The Los Angeles Times


SACRAMENTO — Police in a Bay Area suburb are investigating the slaying of a PC World magazine senior editor after four robbers stormed the family home, shot him to death and pistol-whipped his wife.

It remains unclear what lured the thieves to the Pittsburg home of Rex Farrance, 59, on Tuesday night, but an investigator said a large quantity of drugs was seized from the house. Detectives are trying to determine if narcotics were being dealt from the residence.

Police declined to say what was seized, but Farrance's son, 19-year-old Sterling, told investigators that his parents weren't involved in drug sales. The son said he had a doctor's recommendation to use medical marijuana, which he grew at his parents' home.

Colleagues at San Francisco-based PC World, where Farrance started in the mailroom and worked his way up to become senior technical editor, recalled him as a warm-spirited, socially conservative fitness buff — hardly the profile of a drug dealer.

Harry McCracken, PC World's editor in chief, said Farrance stood out in the liberal Bay Area as a natty, proud Republican who wore an American flag lapel pin and demonstrated a tenacious allegiance to readers and to providing fair coverage of the high-tech industry.

"When I think of a gentleman, I think of Rex — upbeat, considerate, polite," McCracken said. "When I think of a straight arrow, he comes to mind. When I think of the family man, he comes to mind. When I think of people who try to do the right thing, he comes to mind."

Pittsburg Police Inspector John Conaty said the attack occurred shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. Farrance's wife, Lenore, told investigators that she was at the rear of the family's home in a quiet cul-de-sac when she heard a commotion. Her husband scurried into the bedroom followed by four gunmen, all wearing masks and demanding money.

Lenore Farrance said she was hit by one of the handgun-wielding assailants. She told police she heard her husband trying to find cash to give them, then gunshots. At least one round hit Farrance before the robbers fled.

Police arrived to discover and impound a large stash of drugs.

"Based on the quantity, we're exploring whether there was the potential for sales," Conaty said. "Home invasion is a very unusual circumstance, and it puts a focus on why this particular residence was selected."

Farrance's wife, a registered nurse, is recovering from her injuries. She and her husband had no arrest records, officials said. The family did not return a phone call seeking comment.


<hr class=postrule>
eric.bailey@latimes.com


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Police evaluating pot find in fatal home invasion

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:03 am

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote:PITTSBURG

Police evaluating pot find in fatal home invasion

<span class=postbold>Son says marijuana was for medical use to combat pain</span>

Henry K. Lee, Jason B. Johnson, Chronicle Staff Writers
The San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, January 12, 2007


Pittsburg police said Thursday that they are cautiously weighing a claim that marijuana found in the home of a slain PC World senior editor was grown and used by his son for medical purposes.

Four masked men burst into the Pittsburg home of Rex Farrance, 59, about 9 p.m. Tuesday, fatally shooting him and pistol-whipping his wife after demanding money, police said. No arrests have been made.

Police summoned to the home on Argosy Court found a large quantity of marijuana and said the couple were involved in the possession and possible sale of drugs. Colleagues of Farrance, a well-respected technical journalist and fitness enthusiast, expressed deep skepticism, and the couple's son said that he was growing the drug at the home for medical reasons.

Pittsburg police Inspector John Conaty declined to say Thursday whether the drugs found at the home were legal, adding that it premature to say whether anyone connected to the home could face drug charges.

As for the family's insistence that the drugs consisted only of medical marijuana, Conaty said, "They have made that claim to us, and we are exploring whether there's any validity to that claim."

Conaty said the motive for the incident was definitely robbery, and whether any drugs on the premises are related to the home invasion "feeds right back into the entire reason for exploring whether there's a nexus between the possession of a controlled substance and targeting that particular residence for residential robbery."

Sterling Farrance, 19, denied that his father and mother, Kaiser Permanente registered nurse Lenore Vantosh-Farrance, 56, were involved with and possibly dealing drugs from the home they've shared since 1991 on a quiet cul-de-sac.

He said he grows medical marijuana at his parents' home with his father's permission and uses it to combat pain from a car crash. He said he and a friend have a doctor's prescription and medical-marijuana cards from the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative.

"Somebody thought there was more going on here than there was," he said. "They came in asking for money. They came in expecting to find money."

Sterling Farrance said he moved out of the house a few months ago and has been splitting time between his house in Antioch and his parents' home. Outside the residence Thursday, a memorial of flowers, burning candles and a brown teddy bear was set up.

On the garage door were hand-drawn signs reading, "We love you Rex" and "You will be missed."

"My dad was the most generous person that you could possibly know," Sterling Farrance said. "He always put everyone else before him."

He said of the assailants, "Everyone is trying to rack their brains, trying to figure out who these people might be."

Ed Albro, executive features editor at PC World in San Francisco, said Thursday that any links between Rex Farrance and drugs "just seems like science fiction. For these things to be true, it would have to mean that Rex would have had to completely change his character the moment he stepped out of this office."

Joseph Elford, an attorney for Americans for Safe Access, a national advocacy group in Oakland, said Thursday that police often assume that marijuana they find is solely for recreational use. In 1996, California voters passed an initiative legalizing marijuana for medical use with a doctor's approval.

"Medical marijuana patients typically use a lot more marijuana than a recreational marijuana user," Elford said. "The problem is, the police are still in the paradigm of enforcement that involves recreational use."

E-mail the writers at hlee@sfchronicle.com and jbjohnson@sfchronicle.com.

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Son Claims Ownership For Drugs In Slain Writer's Home

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:04 pm

NBC11.com wrote:NBC11.com

Video: Slain PC World Editor's Son Claims Drugs


Son Claims Ownership For Drugs In Slain Writer's Home

NBC11.com
POSTED: 3:31 pm PST January 11, 2007
UPDATED: 6:57 pm PST January 11, 2007

<table class=posttable align=right width=240><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/farrance_sterling.jpg></td></tr></table>PITTSBURG, Calif. -- The family of the PC World magazine editor who was shot and killed Tuesday night is now speaking out, denying any connection the victim allegedly had to illegal drugs.

Rex Farrance, 59, and his wife, Lenore Vantosh-Farrance, 56, were in their home in the 100 block of Argosy Court when four masked gunmen kicked in the front door shortly after 9 p.m., according to police.


SLIDESHOW: Rex Farrance Slain

The robbers then struck Vantosh-Farrance with a gun and fatally shot Farrance in the chest.

"He came bursting in the room," Vantosh-Farrance said. "I said, 'What's going on?' He said, 'We're being broken into.'"

Vantosh-Farrance said she barely had time to react before the men went after her.

"Then they came for me, started screaming at me and pulling at me to get out of bed and 'find the money, b****.' They kept saying that to me, and then I felt a whack on my head," Vantosh-Farrance said.

On Wednesday, Pittsburg police Inspector John Conaty said that the robbery appeared to have been motivated by the victim's alleged involvement in illegal drug sales.

"We don't believe this was a random attack. We have found a considerable amount of a controlled substance within the house, and we're exploring the possibility that it may have had something to do with the motive," Conaty said.

Farrance's son, Sterling Farrance, denied those suspicions Thursday, saying that the marijuana found in the home was his.

"We were doing nothing illegal in this house, I want that known. This is not illegal drugs. This is not some huge operation. This is patients taking care of their own medicine," Sterling Farrance said.

Sterling Farrance, 19, said he used to the medical marijuana to ease pain from injuries he suffered in a car accident.

He added that he had a prescription and license to grow the marijuana.

"Instead of my father being remembered as a generous and caring person, he's going to be remembered as a drug dealer, and every bit of this is slander," Sterling Farrance said.

Rex Farrance was an award-winning senior technical review editor and writer for PC World magazine for more than 19 years.

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Family critical of police in Pittsburg killing

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:18 pm

The Contra Costa Times wrote:Posted on Fri, Jan. 12, 2007

Family critical of police in Pittsburg killing

By Cassandra Braun
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

<table class=posttable align=right width=300><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/farrance_lenore.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcap>Rex Farrance's wife, Lenore Farrance, left, is consoled by her daughter and Rex's stepdaughter Kavita in front of the Pittsburg home.
</td></tr></table>PITTSBURG - Family and friends of a man killed in a home-invasion robbery this week challenged police suggestions that the home was targeted because of illegal drug activity.

Rex Farrance, a 59-year-old popular PC World editor and physical fitness buff, was killed by ski-masked gunmen who also pistol-whipped his wife in their home in western Pittsburg.

Police said they do not think the killing was random and may have been connected with a large amount of controlled substance officers found inside the home on Argosy Court. Authorities would not confirm what the substance was, but family members said medical marijuana was grown at the home.

"In a situation like this, we have a home-invasion robbery of this nature, this violent nature, which are very unusual circumstances even in the most crime-ridden city," said Pittsburg police Inspector John Conaty. "So, obviously, we would be remiss if we did not explore the potential reasons for targeting of a house."

However, Farrance's son, Sterling Farrance, 19, and other family members contended Thursday that the marijuana supply that police uncovered was lawfully cultivated for medicinal purposes. He would not elaborate on how much was in the home at the time.

"From the beginning, it seems the focus of their (police) investigation has been on the marijuana rather than the murder that has happened," he said Thursday morning. "It's completely sanctioned by Prop. 215 (the voter-approved medical marijuana initiative)."

Farrance said he and a friend both have cannabis prescriptions for lingering effects from car accidents. He presented a grower's license that the Oakland Cannabis Cooperative appeared to have issued in May 2006.

Representatives from the co-op did not return calls Thursday confirming the license. Police are investigating its validity, Conaty said.

The elder Farrance gave him permission to grow the plant in the family home because it was being done lawfully, his son said.

Farrance's wife, Lenore Vantosh-Farrance, said she is outraged by police allegations that her husband of 21 years was entangled in narcotics activity.

"We were not dealing drugs," she said, "and as a result, they're slandering our good name."

Vantosh-Farrance, who returned to her home briefly Thursday to find a small shrine to her husband in front of their garage, said the robbers never asked for anything other than money.

"They just kept asking, 'Where's the money? Where's the money?'"

Just after 9 p.m. Tuesday, four men wearing ski masks and dark clothing kicked down the front door of the Farrances' home. The robbers confronted Farrance, who retreated to a bedroom in the rear of the house, where Vantosh-Farrance, 56, was recuperating from foot surgery.

"He just charged in with the men and said, 'We're being broken into,'" recalled Vantosh-Farrance, still obviously shaken by the event.

As her husband tried to comply, one of the intruders hit Vantosh-Farrance on her head with a gun and then shot Farrance in the chest before they ran out.

Farrance was pronounced dead at a local hospital, and Vantosh-Farrance was treated for head injuries at another hospital and released. No one else was home at the time of the attack.

Police will not say what the invaders took from the house because of the ongoing investigation. But Sterling Farrance said none of the marijuana appeared to have been taken.

Vantosh-Farrance, who is an advise nurse for Kaiser Permanente in Vallejo, said she supports medical uses of marijuana, but she still had voiced concerns to her husband about their son growing cannabis in their home. She said she agreed when Farrance assured her the cultivation was being done legally.

"He would go out of his way for anyone, short of something illegal," she said. "He's the best man I've ever known."

Yael Li-Ron, who has known Farrance for eight years and worked with him at PC World, described the tech editor as a modest, decent guy. She is skeptical of detectives' allegations of narcotics activity.

"I just find it very hard to believe. I basically don't believe it," Li-Ron said. "He was a health nut. He preached to everyone to eat right and exercise, treat your body like a temple. I know he didn't approve of drugs."

"He was a really decent, nice man. It's just heartbreaking."

Detectives are pursuing leads in the case and looking for any patterns with other recent crimes, police said.

Reach Cassandra Braun at 925-779-7174 or cbraun@cctimes.com. Staff writers Malaika Fraley and Karl Fischer contributed to this report.

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Slain editor remembered as loyal dad, free thinker

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:22 pm

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote:Slain editor remembered as loyal dad, free thinker

Henry K. Lee and Dan Fost, Chronicle Staff Writers
The San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The story of Rex Farrance's slaying this month, when the longtime PC World editor was shot to death in his home in Pittsburg, is rife with ironies and contradictions.

Farrance was a patriotic American with the utmost respect for the police, a member of the National Rifle Association and a physical fitness buff who took care of his body, colleagues say. In his death, however, friends and family say he was falsely identified as a possible drug user or dealer. And they say they're outraged that this longtime editor with a solid reputation as a scrupulous fact-checker was tarred by the police, and subsequently the news media, in what they feel was an erroneous rush to judgment.

Farrance, a senior technical editor for PC World magazine in San Francisco, was shot in the chest and killed in an apparent robbery at his home Jan. 9, two days after he celebrated his 59th birthday with his family. His wife, Lenore Vantosh-Farrance, 56, a nurse with Kaiser Permanente, was pistol-whipped in the head. Police are still searching for suspects.

Police found a stash of marijuana at the home that Farrance's son said he grew and owned legally. "There was some medical marijuana in the home, but that was perfectly legal," said Sterling Farrance, 19, who said he has a doctor's prescription to use the drug to combat pain from a car crash. He said his father allowed him to grow and store the marijuana at his house, where the younger Farrance often stayed.

Pittsburg police Inspector John Conaty said Monday that investigators were exploring all possible motives for the robbery and were trying to determine if the drugs found at the home were a factor. Neither Conaty nor Sterling Farrance would say what quantity of drugs were inside.

As for the younger Farrance's claim that his medical marijuana was legal, Conaty said police were still awaiting documentation. Police also were researching whether the city of Pittsburg had enacted any laws about what, if any, amount of medical marijuana was legal.

Sterling Farrance showed a Contra Costa Times reporter a medical-marijuana card that the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative apparently issued in May 2006. The cooperative said it needed permission from the patient to release information. Asked by The Chronicle on Thursday for copies of the records, Sterling Farrance twice said, "You don't need that" before hanging up.

Vantosh-Farrance's daughter, Kavita Johnopoulos, 31, of San Francisco, said her family had been unfairly tainted. "I'm very shocked and very irritated at the stuff I'm seeing on the news," Johnopoulos said.

She said the intruders didn't have to shoot Farrance.

"Rex was the type of man -- he would have just given it to them," she said. "He was the sweetest man, so giving. If they would have just asked, he would have given them exactly what they wanted."

Johnopoulos said the home could have been targeted for guns, as Farrance was a member and former president of the Bay Point Rod and Gun Club.

Farrance's daughter, Aurora Byrne, 26, of Walnut Creek, said, "He didn't fit into a box. He thought what he wanted. He wanted us to be healthy and not in pain. That's how he felt about everything."

The four assailants, all wearing ski masks, demanded money after they broke through the front door of the home on Argosy Court, a quiet cul-de-sac, police said.

Hours after the slaying, Conaty said police had "substantial reason to believe that the victim and his wife were involved in the possession of and, potentially, the distribution of illegal narcotics."

"Residential robbery is a very unusual crime. We certainly look at why that particular house may have been targeted, as opposed to any other house," Conaty said.

Ed Albro, senior features editor at PC World, described Farrance as "a very straight arrow."

"He was conservative politically and conservative personally, and he was very interested in health," Albro said. "I remember one time he discussed why it was better to drink water at room temperature rather than cold. He was very interested in how his body operated.

"The idea that he's taking drugs or encouraging other people to take drugs just seems pretty much impossible."

In interviews and e-mails and on a Web page that PC World set up in Farrance's honor, colleagues and industry professionals reminisced about a man who wore suits, jackets and ties to work even though the freewheeling tech culture had long abandoned such accoutrements. He often sported an American flag on the lapel, and he was known around the office as "Mr. Savile Row," after the London street renowned for fine tailoring, according to Ramon McLeod, editor of PCWorld.com.

"Rex was such a great guy," McLeod said. "He came to work every day. He was clean, bright, alert all the time and an amazingly good editor."

He said the staff was rocked by the news. "The place was just flabbergasted," he said. "There was a lot of anger. We feel that this friend's reputation was just dragged through the mud, and we don't understand why."

Most of the staff recently attended the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but Farrance, whose area of focus was hard drives and other storage devices, didn't make the trip this year. "That was tearing at my head," McLeod said. "He had gone in prior years, but it wasn't his turn this year. You have all these what-ifs."

Farrance left behind a son and a daughter. His wife has two daughters from a previous marriage. "All he talked about was his wife and kids, when he wasn't talking about work," McLeod said.

A former colleague and old friend of Farrance, John Goddard, who now lives in Prague, recalled in an e-mail Farrance's dedication to his family.

"When his wife became disabled, his love didn't waver," Goddard wrote. "When his kids ran into trouble, he kept his cool and made sure he was around to provide any help they needed."

Farrance was not only meticulous about his dress, but also dedicated to his physical well-being. He enjoyed running and lifting weights, worked out in a home gym that he had built himself, and swapped health tips with colleagues such as PC World Executive Editor Randy Ross.

"Though neither of us ever achieved the neck-like-a-fire-hydrant look we wanted, we enjoyed talking about different workout routines and nagging injuries," Ross wrote in tribute on the PC World Web site. "Even though he was about 10 years older than I, Rex had a smaller waist and could lift more than I ever could."

In a 2001 Chronicle story about people keeping fit at home, Farrance described how he built the low-cost gym with old barbells and plates he found on sale. "I cobbled this thing together," he said. "I found my first bench on the street and supplemented that later with a sturdier model I bought for $150."

His bible was "Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men," by now-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins, which he called "a must-have starter guide if you're working out alone."

In nearly 50 comments on the PC World Web site, people invariably describe Farrance as kind, thoughtful, courteous, a consummate professional and a skilled editor.

"He was an amazingly genteel guy," said PC World Editor in Chief Harry McCracken. "Civility was important to him. He was a master of disagreeing without being disagreeable and basically an extremely kind person. We remain grateful that we had him. It's amazing that he did find his home at PC World."

Farrance was born in McGrath, Alaska. "He was an outdoorsman who cared about the environment; he believed social responsibility and karma were one and the same; his proudest moment was when he and his son got to shake the hand of President Clinton during a campaign stop," Goddard wrote.

In 1989, when Sterling was 2, Farrance took him to a rally celebrating the all-Bay Area World Series about to take place between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's, and the photo made the front page of The Chronicle. Farrance kept a photocopy of the clipping on his bulletin board at work.

He came to San Francisco in the 1960s, according to McCracken. "He was part of the Summer of Love," McCracken said. "His outlook on social stuff evolved a lot since then."

His opinions are evident in occasional letters he fired off to the editor of the Contra Costa Times over the years, writing in April 2001 in opposition to new gun-control laws and in July 2001 criticizing what he called the "progressive" agenda of the Times and its then-owner, Knight Ridder.

In an August 2001 letter, he defended the National Rifle Association as "over 4 million responsible sportsmen and women of all ethnicities that promote gun safety education ... and yes (thank God!) the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens to keep and bear arms. ... We're lucky to have this 'gun lobby' on our side."

McCracken said personnel records showed that Farrance had worked in the grocery business in San Francisco, starting as a cashier and ending up the manager of a health food store in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. He was already interested in writing and computers; his job application to PC World -- one of the leading magazines for technology enthusiasts -- indicated that he had won an essay contest in Alaska and that he was familiar with state-of-the-art software programs from that era, including Lotus 1-2-3 and WordStar.

In 1987, personal computers were beginning their climb to ubiquity, and many people who became enamored of the technology were inspired to find new careers in the industry. Farrance started as a temporary employee in PC World's mailroom, according to some recollections. McCracken said one colleague called him "super temp," and in a few months he had been promoted to a staff job. He stayed with the magazine an unusually long time.

His office at PC World at Second and Bryant streets has been untouched since his death. A vase of flowers sits outside the door, which has been plastered with condolence e-mails. Inside are shelves laden with books and software and the personal mementos that reveal the man: a photo of himself at about age 12, in a jacket and tie; a photo of his wife, pregnant with their son; photos of children and grandchildren; a photo of a bodybuilder; one of John Lennon; and patriotic emblems.

He had his quirks, according to his friend Goddard, including a fear of flying. "When we covered a trade show in New York, he'd either drive or take the train with Lenore," Goddard wrote.

He also loved rock music. Denny Arar, a PC World senior editor, wrote in an e-mail that "only a few months ago he sent me a digital recording of something he'd written."

Farrance was a stickler for detail, for getting the words right, and for making sure stories were fair and accurate, co-workers said. "There was more than one occasion when he literally saved a story from getting us into hot water," McLeod said. "He was not for taking people down with some cheap shot, especially when it might turn out not to be fair. ... He was a little bit of a bottleneck because of it. He really was a precision guy. You'd grumble, but he always made it better."

Goddard forwarded the last e-mail he received from Farrance, an upbeat greeting from a year ago.

"Happy New Year, My Friend," Farrance wrote. "I hope that you and your lovely wife are doing well. Lenore and I are in reasonably good health. Sterling is now 18 and noticeably taller than I. (Daughter) Aurora is married with two children and lives in Concord. There are another four grandchildren in the mix."

The e-mail, Goddard said, showed Farrance's graceful nature.

"He was a family man," he said. "He was murdered trying to defend it."



<hr class=postrule>
<span class=postbold>Memorial </span>

A memorial service for Rex Farrance will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 4 at Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley. Anyone with information about his slaying is asked to call the Pittsburg police tip line at (925) 427-7369.

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2 guilty in home-invasion killing in Pittsburg

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:51 pm

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote:2 guilty in home-invasion killing in Pittsburg

Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
The San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, June 21, 2009

(06-20) 13:35 PDT MARTINEZ --

Two men have been convicted while a third is facing a retrial in connection with the fatal shooting of a longtime PC World magazine editor during a home-invasion robbery in Pittsburg.

Darryl Hudson, 25, of Pittsburg, was convicted in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Thursday of murder, robbery, burglary and assault with a firearm in the Jan. 9, 2007, slaying of Rex Farrance, who was a senior technical editor for PC World in San Francisco. Hudson faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jurors could not reach a verdict against a second defendant, Montrell Hall, 25, and Judge Jill Fannin declared a mistrial Friday, said Hall's attorney, Daniel Horowitz.

"I think there was a lot of investigation that was done in this case, but it wasn't really focused on the most important issues that would have either cleared Montrell Hall or not," Horowitz said. "I think that some jurors had some problems with that."

A third defendant, Tremaine Amos, 27, of Pittsburg, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in exchange for testifying against the other two.

The men demanded money after bursting into Farrance's home on Argosy Court, which was filled with a large quantity of marijuana, authorities said. Farrance turned 59 two days before he was killed. His wife, Lenore Vantosh-Farrance, was pistol-whipped, and the robbers made off with a safe with guns inside, police said.

Hudson was armed with a .22-caliber revolver when he shot Farrance in the chest, police said. The weapon was recovered six days after the slaying after a car chase, police said.

Farrance's family has said at least three men decided to target the home after learning from his son's friend that marijuana was grown in the home and money would be readily available. Farrance's son, Sterling Farrance, has said his father let him grow medical marijuana at home.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page B - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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Third conviction in slaying of PC World editor

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:23 am

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote:Third conviction in slaying of PC World editor

Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

The San Francisco Chronicle | Sunday, October 11, 2009


(10-10) 09:27 PDT PITTSBURG -- A third man has been convicted in the fatal shooting of a longtime PC World magazine editor during a home-invasion robbery in Pittsburg.

Montrell Hall, 25, was found guilty by a Contra Costa County Superior Court jury Friday of murder, assault with a firearm, robbery and burglary in the Jan. 9, 2007, slaying of Rex Farrance, who was a senior technical editor for PC World in San Francisco.

In June, Darryl Hudson, 25, of Pittsburg, was convicted of the same charges. A third defendant, Tremaine Amos, 27, of Pittsburg, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in exchange for testifying against the other two.

Hall was convicted in a retrial after jurors in his first trial said they could not reach a verdict. After being convicted Friday, Hall told his attorney, Daniel Horowitz, "Tell my family that I'll be OK," according to Horowitz.

The men demanded money after bursting into Farrance's home on Argosy Court, which was filled with a large quantity of marijuana, authorities said. Farrance turned 59 two days before he was killed. His wife, Lenore Vantosh-Farrance, was pistol-whipped, and the robbers made off with a safe with guns inside, police said.

Hudson was armed with a .22-caliber revolver when he shot Farrance in the chest, police said. The weapon was recovered six days after the slaying after a car chase, police said.

Farrance's family has said at least three men decided to target the home after learning from his son's friend that marijuana was grown in the home and money would be readily available. Farrance's son, Sterling Farrance, has said his father let him grow medical marijuana at home.

E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.
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