By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – A federal jury sentenced Gary Sampson to death Monday for the second time, and we can only hope the second time is the charm.

Sampson is the violent drifter from Abington who had robbed a string of banks in early 2001 before deciding to go on a carjacking and killing spree. Sixty-nine year old Philip McCloskey of Taunton was kind enough to pick up a hitchhiking Sampson – he was viciously stabbed to death, as was 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo of Kingston. The final victim was 58-year-old Robert Whitney of Concord, New Hampshire. All were Good Samaritans who tried to help Sampson, and were rewarded with their slaughter.

Philip McCloskey (left), Jonathan Rizzo (middle) and Robert Whitney (right)

Philip McCloskey (left), Jonathan Rizzo (middle) and Robert Whitney (right)

Sampson pled guilty to his murders, so there was never a shred of doubt about his culpability. These were not heat of the moment crimes. And yet our alleged justice system stepped in and kept this monster alive for eight years before a technicality forced a redo of the sentencing.

That five year process is now over, and yet you can bet his lawyers will find ways to delay the punishment. That’s because our system cares more about protecting the rights of a killer and enabling lucrative legal game-playing than it does about meeting the needs of the victims’ survivors and the society at large for justice.

A police official involved with this case said Monday: “Gary Sampson represents a level of evil that I hope to never encounter again.”

We should all reflect on the fact that it’s taken us more than 15 years since the crimes to deal adequately with that evil – 15 years, and counting.


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