Keller @ Large: Sampson Trial Decision Right Call

BOSTON (CBS) – Outside of the surviving family and friends of the victims he viciously slaughtered, I can’t imagine that anyone has more contempt for serial killer Gary Sampson than I do.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

He is a rabid animal who killed innocent bystanders Phillip McCloskey, Jonathan Rizzo, and Robert Whitney back in 2001 for no reason but the psychotic pleasure it gave him.

The day he is put to death will be a day of relief and closure for all who knew his victims, and for every person who understands a hard truth of life, that there are some cancers on humanity that cannot be cured with treatment but must be destroyed.

But today the loves ones of Sampson’s innocent victims are reportedly in agony because Federal Judge Mark Wolf has thrown out his death-penalty conviction on the grounds that one of the jurors who sentenced him lied during jury selection about aspects of her background that might have prejudiced their judgement.

I feel and regret their pain acutely.

I sided with them strongly when they lashed out at Judge Wolf for unfairly chastising their demeanor in the courtroom earlier in the case.

But after reading the judge’s ruling, I have to say that not only is it the right thing to do, but that the re-do of the death-penalty phase of this case, when it results in another death sentence, will be a better outcome than the original.

Read: The Ruling (.pdf)

Judge Wolf makes it clear his heart is not bleeding in any way for Sampson, that “if anyone deserves the death penalty, Sampson does.”

But he notes that the constitution requires that defendants be tried by an impartial jury.

The lone juror who lied during jury selection about her own ordeal at the hands of an abusive husband compromised that right.

She is the one who the families should be angry at, not Judge Wolf.

So let’s do it again.

The outcome isn’t in doubt, as the judge suggests.

Let’s take extra satisfaction, as the lethal injection sends Sampson straight to hell, that we took the high ground at all times, and take it as that much more of a rebuke to the evil that Sampson represents.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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