• Spree killer Gary Lee Sampson sentenced to death


    BOSTON - A man who went on a killing spree through Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 2001 has been sentenced to death in federal court.  

    In 2001, Sampson murdered three people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

    Monday, a jury unanimously agreed to sentence Sampson to death for the murder of college student Jonathan Rizzo.

    Mary and Mike Rizzo joined U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in a news conference after the verdict was read to speak about the case. 

    "Their verdict revealed that they were truly impartial," Ortiz said. "We were disappointed in the way the verdict was split."

    Sampson was sentenced to the death penalty in federal court because capital punishment is abolished in Massachusetts. He was not sentenced to death for the murder of Phillip McCloskey. 

    Scott McCloskey, the son of Phillip McCloskey, also joined them in the news conference, during which Ortiz asked everyone to turn attention from Sampson to the families of the victims.

    "This isn't about compensation ... I'm just happy it's done and I hope we never have to go through this again," McCloskey said. "God bless my father, may he rest in peace."

    Sampson's first death sentence in 2003 was vacated years later because one of the original jurors lied on questionnaire -- so a new trial was granted.

    "This is a good day for the Whitney, McCloskey and Rizzo families; although we're not going to be out celebrating like we won the World Series," Mike Rizzo said. "I think this was all about never giving up, 15 years is a long time."

    "I don't usually speak, but Phillip and Jonathan are in my heart and their pictures are in my wallet every single day," Mary Rizzo said.

    She expressed gratitude for the jurors and their service. 

    "We are truly sorry for what you have been through," Ortiz said to the families. "[Sampson] used manipulation and deceit to lure, torture and kill them. He blamed everyone but himself." 

    The jury deliberated for five hours on Thursday and returned Friday to continue before ending their deliberations on Monday. There were 115 mitigating factors total, and the jury had to discuss each one.


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