BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The California Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence of a Kern County sheriff’s deputy who killed two young women more than 30 years ago.

The court’s ruling said a prosecution witness falsely testified David Keith Rogers had sexually assaulted her.

The woman has expressed varying degrees of doubt in the years following her testimony that Rogers, now 72, was the man who assaulted her, according to court documents.

She said, “I am now more concerned than ever that I wrongly identified David Rogers as the man who attacked me.”

The court’s decision overturns the death sentence, but lets stand the two first-degree murder convictions. Rogers will serve life without parole if the District Attorney’s office decides not to retry the penalty phase of his trial.

The prosecution used the woman’s testimony during its closing argument in the penalty phase. The justices found that, although it was only briefly mentioned, the prosecutor’s “dramatic invocation of (the woman’s) terror” added to the impact of her testimony on the jury.

The court found the woman had a propensity to change her story and add “significant details bolstering her accusations against (Rogers),” the documents says. She gave inconsistent versions of incidents in which she claimed Rogers molested her in jail.

The Attorney General has argued the jury would have sentenced Rogers to death regardless of whether the woman testified. The justices disagreed in the unanimous ruling authored by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

“Contrary to the Attorney General’s contention, false testimony likely had a significant effect on the outcome of the penalty phase,” Cantil-Sakauye wrote.

Rogers was convicted in 1988 of two counts of murder in the deaths of Janine Benintende, 20, and Tracie Clark, 15. Benintende was killed in early 1986, and Clark a year later.

Both women had been working as prostitutes. Their bodies were found in the Arvin-Edison Canal, and both had been shot multiple times with bullets from a .38-caliber gun.

Bullets, tire tracks, shoe prints, and eyewitness testimony led to Rogers being identified as a suspect.

When confronted by sheriff’s detectives — his colleagues — Rogers admitted to killing Clark but denied involvement in Benintende’s death. His defense centered around claims he was mentally disturbed due to physical and sexual abuse as a child.

“Three mental health professionals testified (Rogers) suffered from a dissociative disorder involving memory loss and possible multiple personality disorder stemming from severe childhood sexual and physical abuse,” according to court documents.

The opinion can be read in full here.