Feds cite prison misconduct in Mass. carjack caseBy DENISE LAVOIE , Associated Press
Mar. 31, 2014 6:06 PM ET
BOSTON (AP) — A man who admitted carjacking and killing two Massachusetts men during a deadly weeklong crime spree deserves the death penalty because of his pattern of "violent, disruptive and non-remorseful behavior," including assaults he's committed in prison, prosecutors said Monday.
Gary Lee Sampson pleaded guilty in the 2001 carjack killings of Jonathan Rizzo, 19, of Kingston, and Philip McCloskey, 69, of Taunton. A federal jury sentenced him to death, but a judge later overturned that ruling, finding that a juror repeatedly lied about her background during the jury selection process.
Sampson is scheduled to face a new sentencing trial next year.
In a court filing Monday, prosecutors listed aggravating factors in favor of the death penalty —the same factors they cited when he was sentenced to death in 2003 — including the heinous and cruel nature of the killings, substantial planning and premeditation before the killings, and the age and vulnerability of McCloskey.
In arguing for the death penalty in the Massachusetts killings, prosecutors also said Sampson is likely to commit criminal acts of violence in the future because of his history of problems in prison, including multiple violent assaults of prison officials, attempted escapes, verbal threats to prison officials and inmates, and use of dangerous weapons.
In addition to the killings of Rizzo and McCloskey, Sampson also pleaded guilty in the killing the same week of Robert "Eli" Whitney in Meredith, New Hampshire. He received a separate life sentence in New Hampshire in that case.
Sampson has been held at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., since 2004.
Sampson's lawyers did not immediately respond to request for comment. They argued in his appeal that he should be spared the death penalty because jurors did not hear enough about brain injuries that caused him to have a mental illness. They have also said he now has advance liver disease.
Massachusetts does not have a state death penalty. Sampson was charged under the federal death penalty statute.