Former Navy sailor sentenced to 7 years in prison for murdering dancer in 1969 cleared case
A Pennsylvania man has been convicted of the violent 1969 murder of a dancer found dead in his San Diego home.
John Sipos, 76, will serve seven years to life in prison for the murder of Mary Scott, 23, according to San Diego Union-Tribune. The sentence was adjusted to match the sentence prescribed in 1969 when Scott was raped, beaten and strangled to death in her City Heights apartment.
Friday’s hearing in San Diego Superior Court came a month after a jury found Sipos guilty of first-degree murder, while Previously reported. Sipos was not charged with rape due to the statute of limitations which expired decades ago.
“Justice [Scott] deserved has been delayed for so long,” Assistant District Attorney Chris Lindberg said, according to the Tribune. “It was so rewarding to hold the offender accountable and bring justice to her family.”
Scott’s daughter, Donna Wyble, was also present for the sentencing, according to NBC San Diegospeaking on behalf of Scott’s other daughter, who died in a car accident years ago.
“I want John Sipos to know that he took everything from me and my sister,” Wyble said.
On November 20, 1969, Mary Scott had not arrived for her shift at the Star & Garter Club, where she worked as a go-go dancer a few blocks from her apartment. A colleague visited his first-floor residence to find Scott’s furniture in disarray and broken chain locks on the door.
Prosecutors later alleged that Sipos – a former Navy sailor who lived in San Diego at the time of the murder – broke down the door, broke the victim’s jaw and raped her before finally strangling her to death .
Sipos was arrested on October 24, 2020 from his home in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania after the victim’s sister, Rosalie Sanz, pushed authorities to use genetic genealogy in the case. At the time of his arrest, Sipos had been retired for more than 20 years after a career in hospital administration and security, his lawyer said.
“And that’s the thing that makes me most upset,” Sanz told the New York Times. “When I learned that he was just living free and happy, I was overwhelmed that he had this normal life all these years. She had so much life ahead of her, and it just got stolen.
Sipos waived Lehigh County’s extradition to California, saying he had no recollection of the murder.
At the March trial, Sipos’ attorney Brooke LaFrance argued that the case was hampered because several key witnesses who could have taken the stand have died in the 53 years since the murder, according to NBC. San Diego. She also claimed that DNA evidence pointed to another suspect.
That person was removed from the crime scene, prosecutors said.
“[Sipos] was able to avoid accountability for his crime,” the prosecutor said during Friday’s hearing. “It’s been a long time coming.”
It was never revealed if Sipos and Scott knew each other, according to the Tribune.
“In a case this old, there will always be missing pieces and unanswered questions,” said Lindberg, who heads the office’s cold case unit.
Oxygen.com could not reach Brooke LaFrance for comment after sentencing, but the defense attorney said “an appeal will be filed” following Sipos’ sentencing.
Sipos’s trial holds the longest time between crime and conviction, according to the Tribune.