The California Supreme Court today reinstated the first-degree murder conviction of a Sunnyvale man in the strangling and rape of a Mountain View woman 33 years ago.Gary Dean Story was convicted in Santa Clara County Superior Court in 2005 of murdering Betty Vickers, 26, who was found strangled in her Mountain View apartment in 1976. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.Story and Vickers were co-workers in the production department of the Wall Street Journal in Palo Alto.Story was not charged with the murder until 2002, after the case was reopened and investigators found that two of his ex-wives would testify he had told them he had killed someone.In today’s ruling, the state high court in San Francisco unanimously overturned a decision by the state Court of Appeal in San Jose last year that set aside the conviction.The appeals court had said prosecutors should not have been allowed to introduce evidence of four previous sexual assaults by Story.The appeals court said state law allows evidence of prior sexual offenses only when a defendant is on trial for another sexual assault.But the state high court said the evidence was allowed because Story was accused of murder in the course of a rape.The panel also said that one appeal claim by Story remains unresolved. That issue is Story’s argument that the delay in charging him for the 1976 crime denied him a fair trial. The state high court sent the case back to the appeals court in San Jose to decide that issue.
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