Deliberations over death penalty set to begin in Sampson trial

For the second time, a federal jury is set to begin deliberating the fate of admitted serial killer Gary Lee Sampson, after hearing a prosecutor recount in vivid detail how Sampson tortured and killed three people in a violent weeklong spree in 2001 — crimes, the prosecutor said in closing arguments, that warrant the death penalty.

Assistant US Attorney Zachary R. Hafer displayed a photo of 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo as he described to jurors how Sampson tied him to a tree and stabbed him after Rizzo offered to give him a ride. Hafer recounted how Sampson dragged 69-year-old Philip McCloskey, a retired plumber from Taunton, up a hill before stabbing him to death.

“Never forget it was that man,” Hafer said, pointing at Sampson, “who turned this caring grandfather into that horrific crime scene.”

“That was cruel, that was heinous, that was depraved,” Hafer said, using the legal terms that justify sentencing a

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