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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  • Marty

    What a waste of more money! Guilty is guilty!! Where is the proof that this juror was not impartial?? Pure speculation. obviously the ten other jurors came to the same conclusion as she did…..that’s impartial enough in my book!

  • tsal

    It is a shame. One of the persons killed was my son’s friend’s brother. It made me sick to hear that there would be a retrial. However, our laws are what make us the best country on earth and they are there for a very good reason. The law is an impartial jury and when we begin to compromise on those laws, we also compromise what our country stands for.

    The juror not only lied about her past but her experience had enough of a parallel to definitely sway her vote. I hope she is prosecuted as well. What she deliberately did is despicable and has caused the family’s of the victims to have to go through the entire process again.

  • JohnC

    I didn’t know that Massachusetts has a death penalty. I thought that the reason that we were able to extradite the British subhuman idiot who killed his wife in Hopkinton, was that we did not execute people in our beloved Commonwealth.

    • mikey

      Wikipedia states:

      Federal law was changed in 1994 to allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty when a murder is committed during a carjacking.

      Then-Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney denied the Federal government consent to execute Sampson in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts because capital punishment is outlawed there, but New Hampshire’s then-Governor Craig R. Benson consented to doing it in that state, so U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf ordered that Sampson be executed in New Hampshire, which has the death penalty.

      • tsal

        I thought the same as John and had to go to Wiki too –

        Hi Mikey and happy weekend

    • mikey

      Thanks tsal – U 2!

  • jaygee

    “An impartial jury” like the ones who found John Gotti and many others not guilty by reason of a bribed juror. Judge Wolf is an excellent judge and we are lucky to have him but on this case he has allowed his own personal feelings against the death penalty to cloud his thinking. Sampson is a killer of 3 men along with the misery he has caused 3 families. There is not a single doubt he killed them and for that, he should be executed asap. I consider myself to be a non-violent person but in this case I would volunteer, free of charge, to cancel the contract of this sadistic piece of garbage and not lose a minute of sleep.

  • Willow

    This country has always been too soft on crime. That’s why we have so much of it. Why bother with the death penalty when the one sentenced only sits on death row for 20 or 30 years, making one appeal after another. The man confessed to the murders so what difference does it make if one juror lied. Many people have suffered at the hand of an abuser, whether it be a spouse, parent, any other person. That does not mean they aren’t able to serve impartially on a jury. I could, and have a history of abuse.

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