Court rejects Calif. appeal in Skid Row killings

January 9, 2012 - 10:25 AM

WASHNIGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected California's plea to reinstate murder convictions in the case of Los Angeles' Skid Row Stabber who killed homeless men in the 1970s.

Two justices dissented from the court's decision Monday to leave in place a federal appeals court ruling that overturned two murder convictions and the life sentence of Bobby Jo Maxwell. The appeals court said Maxwell was convicted based on a jailhouse informant's lies.

The informant was Sidney Storch, who was at the center of a scandal involving false testimony that defense lawyers said helped convict 225 defendants.

Justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia said they would have reversed the appeals court ruling. Justice Sonia Sotomayor defended the ruling in a separate opinion.

The state must give Maxwell a new trial or release him.