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Calif. Supreme Court Reverses Death Sentence Ruling In 1994 Murder Case

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The California Supreme Court Monday reversed the death sentence of a man convicted of killing two women, including the mother of Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, in a West Los Angeles home in March 1993.

The state’s high court ruled that John Riccardi, now 76, was denied a fair trial because the trial judge erroneously excused a prospective juror during jury selection.

According to the ruling, “(T)he trial court erred by failing to conduct voir dire with respect to one prospective juror, whose written questionnaire reflected conflicting and uncertain views concerning the death penalty and her ability to serve.”

It was the third case from Los Angeles County in which the Supreme Court has thrown out death sentences so far this year.

Riccardi was convicted and sentenced to death in 1994 for killing his estranged girlfriend, Connie Hopkins Navarro, 41, and her friend, Sue Marshall Jory, 42. He is one of the oldest inmates on California’s death row.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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