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Calif. Death Sentence Upheld

October 15, 1987|United Press International

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court today upheld the first of what are expected to be dozens of death sentences as a result of the precedent-setting death penalty ruling it handed down two days ago.

The court, split 5 to 2 along conservative-liberal lines, affirmed the death sentence of Oscar (Kojac) Gates in a 1979 Oakland robbery-murder case. The court said a judge's failure to instruct jurors that they must find an "intent to kill" no longer merits reversal of a sentence. On Tuesday the court, in a major break with a 4-year-old precedent, ruled that a killer can be executed for an unintentional murder.

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