George W. Kennedy, District Attorney
John D. Luft, Deputy District Attorney
Career Criminal Unit
For release on October 6, 2005
1976 RAPE-MURDER RESULTS IN FIRST DEGREE MURDER CONVICTION
The matter of rapist-murderer Gary Story is unusually interesting and instructional.
In 1974 in Santa Clara County, Story attempted to rape a young woman and pulled a gun on bystanders as he fled her apartment. There was a different justice climate in California at that time. Following conviction for those offenses, he was sent by the court to prison psychiatrists for examinations and observations. They reported back to the court that Story was not dangerous, and he was released on probation after serving less than 90 days in custody.
In 1976, he murdered 26-year-old Mountain View resident Betty Yvonne Vickers. Story was seen leaving a bar at about the same time as Vickers and driving toward Vickers’ apartment where she was murdered. Forensic science was inadequate at the time to prove then that Story was the murderer. However, during a search police discovered an entry in Story’s wife’s diary that showed he was the killer. The diary entry was then inadmissible. The admissible evidence was insufficient to prove the case at trial and, therefore, the District Attorney’s office did not then charge Story with the murder.
At the time of the murder, Story was still on probation for the 1974 violence, and District Attorney George Kennedy (then a deputy d.a.) attempted to cause the court to violate Story’s probation because the standard of proof required for that was much less than at trial for the murder. In what Kennedy described as an awesome respect for the rule of
law, Justice Edward Panelli (then a Superior Court judge) found there was insufficient evidence even to violate Story’s probation, even though Panelli surely knew Story had committed the murder, having had to review the incriminating diary entry before ruling that it was inadmissible as a confidential marital communication.
Story then moved to Arizona and was convicted of rape there for which he served a relatively short sentence.
With advances in dna technology, Kennedy directed that the murder of Vickers be reopened, but the physical evidence, including a semen stain, was missing after a 1980 relocation of the entire Mountain View Police Department.
But, D.A. Investigator Ray Medved located two of Story’s ex-spouses who were then willing to testify against him and testify that he had admitted killing before and that he had gotten away with it. The circumstances described to one ex-spouse were such that he could only have been referring to Vickers’ murder.
Medved also located two victims of Story’s Arizona rapes and an additional California victim of Story’s rapes. From those witnesses he learned that the rapes had been similar to the attack on Ms. Vickers. Thanks in part to criminal justice reforms of the 1990’s in California, that evidence was admissible in a trial of Story for Vickers’ murder.
Santa Clara County deputy district attorney John Luft then charged and tried Story with the murder. After a lapse of nearly thirty years, a jury returned a verdict of first-degree murder against Gary Dean Story this week for the murder of Betty Yvonne Vickers after a two-week trial in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Linda Condron.