Death Sentence Overturned For Man Who Murdered Guitarist Dave Navarro's Mother

The man who murdered the mother of Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro nearly 30 years ago is leaving California's death row.

Today the California Supreme Court reversed the death sentence of John Riccardi, convicted in 1994 for the 1983 murder of his then-girlfriend, Connie Hopkins Navarro. Riccardi was also convicted in the murder of Susan Marshall Jory, Connie Navarro's best friend.

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, explains City News Service.

Riccardi was captured in 1991 after several years on the run, thanks to an episode of "America's Most Wanted" detailing the crime, and a viewer tip submitted in response to Dave Navarro's appearance in the broadcast.

"FBI agents said that when they caught up with Riccardi he was living in a stylish Houston condominium filled with cash, jewels and other evidence of a lucrative burglary trade," reported the L.A. Times following Riccardi's conviction.

When Navarro appeared on AMW, it was the waning days of Jane's Addiction. He almost joined Guns N' Roses, a career move Gothamist asked Navarro about in a 2011 interview: "It just was neither here, nor there. It wasn't really an option at the time. There were too many variables in my life that deemed that an impossibility," said Navarro. By the time Riccardi went to court, Navarro was playing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. However, he and his father both attended the trial.

In 2004, Dave Navarro spoke to AMW about the case and the night of the murders:

Dave's parents had shared custody of him after their divorce, and on the night of March 3, 1983, Dave was supposed to stay with Connie, but at the last minute stayed with his father. That night Riccardi broke into Connie's apartment, and waited for her to come home. When Connie returned with her best friend, Susan Jory, He shot them both to death. Dave Navarro believes he would have been Riccardi's third victim if he had been there that night. "So I really do believe that that's some sort of divine intervention that I can't explain."

Riccardi is among the oldest inmates on death row in California. His is the third case from Los Angeles County in which the Supreme Court has thrown out death sentences so far this year.