A man who assaulted his girlfriend six months after he was released from a program for sexually violent predators will be sentenced under California's "three strikes, you're out" law, which carries a sentence of at least 25 years to life, a judge said Thursday.
After listening to a few hours of evidence in Stanislaus County Superior Court, a jury Wednesday said Buddy Ray Gary, 56, is guilty of assault. According to a witness, Gary attacked Pennie Harrison in an alley between Maple Street and Maze Boulevard in west Modesto after 1 a.m. on June 2, 2006.
After the verdict was in, Judge Hurl Johnson held a trial to determine whether four of Gary's nine prior convictions should count as strikes. The court must authenticate prior convictions before they can be used to lengthen a sentence.
A prosecutor presented paperwork to show that Gary has been convicted of rape twice in Stanislaus County, as well as burglary in Stanislaus County and robbery in Merced County. A fingerprint expert told the court that Gary's fingerprints match those in his prison file.
Gary also has been convicted of arson, assault, receiving stolen property and theft. Most of his crimes occurred before the three strikes law was enacted.
The rapes of two elderly women in their Modesto homes in 1972 and 1985 made Gary eligible for an involuntary commitment to Atascadero State Hospital, which stretched over nine years. He stole $20 from an 83-year-old victim and $5 from a 66-year-old victim.
Gary was in prison on a parole violation for spousal battery when the sexually violent predator law went into effect in 1996. He was subjected to an involuntary commitment that was reviewed by the court every two years.
According to court records, Gary refused treatment and gained his freedom Dec. 12, 2005, after three of five psychologists said his crimes were opportunistic, rather than predatory.
Bee staff writer Susan Herendeen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2338.