BOSTON - A burglar twice convicted of murdering his neighbor has won a new trial - again. Craig Conkey's first conviction in the 1994 murder of his Lexington neighbor, Mary Lou Sale, was overturned by the state's Supreme Judicial Court in 1999. The court ruled that Conkey's refusal to provide fingerprints to police should not have been used as evidence against him. After a new trial in 2001, Conkey was convicted again. But on Thursday, the SJC also overturned that conviction, ruling that his defense should have been allowed to present additional evidence that someone else may have committed the crime. Conkey's lawyers wanted the jury to hear that Sale's landlord had a pattern of sexual aggression toward women who rejected him and may have killed Sale because she had spurned his romantic overtures. ``It simply cannot be said that the evidence of the landlord's prior incidents of sexual assault was not relevant,'' the court said in a unanimous, 5-0 ruling. Although Conkey was allowed to present some evidence about Sale's landlord, the judge rejected his request to present evidence of his past violence toward women. The judge found ``a fundamental lack of similarity between'' the evidence of his previous behavior toward women and the murder of Sale. But the SJC said even though the primary motive for Sale's murder may have been burglary, there was evidence at both of Conkey's trials suggesting sexual assault may also have been a motive. Although there was no scientific evidence of a sexual assault, Sale's pajama top had been ripped open, her pajama bottoms were found on her bed and her underwear was on the floor. ``The real problem was that the judge excluded evidence that made the landlord's motive understandable,'' said Conkey's appellate attorney, Michael Schneider. ``The jury was left without any evidence that would have given it to understand that (he) had a pattern of sexual hostility toward women and that he had trouble handling rejection.'' A spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley had no immediate comment on the ruling. Sale, 49, was an accountant who had moved from California to Massachusetts to be closer to her daughter, who was in college. Her body was found by police on her bedroom floor on Dec. 6, 1994. She'd been strangled with a nylon stocking and beaten in the head. Jewelry was strewn on the bedroom floor and two of Sale's purses were missing and never found. Conkey, an admitted burglar who said he ``liked'' the challenge of breaking into occupied homes, told police he heard a woman scream while he was smoking a cigarette in a wooded area nearby. He said he broke into Sale's house to see what had happened. He said he found Sale, already dead, but did not call police because he didn't want to get involved.