TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court has dismissed an attempted rape charge against a truck driver who was sentenced to death in 2004 for killing and decapitating a Wichita housekeeper.
The court ruled on Friday that 54-year-old Douglas Belt should not have been convicted of attempted rape because prosecutors used the same act to get a capital murder conviction.
Belt died in prison of natural causes in April. The court ruled on his appeal anyway because it had the potential to exonerate him on one or more convictions.
Belt was convicted of the 2002 slaying of 42-year-old Lucille Gallegos, whose headless body was found in an empty apartment at a Wichita complex where she worked.
Investigators called the killing one of most gruesome crimes in the city’s history.