Boston: New death-penalty hearing for Mass. killer

BOSTON (AP) – A federal appeals court has confirmed the decision to throw out the death penalty sentence against a man who pleaded guilty to killing three people on the South Shore and New Hampshire during a weeklong crime spree and ordered a new trial to determine if he will be put to death.

(19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo of Kingston. Photo courtsey of

The court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that Gary Lee Sampson was denied his constitutional right to have his sentence decided by an impartial jury after a juror repeatedly lied when answering questions during the jury selection process.

Sampson pleaded guilty to carjacking and killing two Massachusetts men on the South Shore in 2001. 69-year-old Philip McCloskey was found stabbed to death in a secluded area of Marshfield and 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo of Kingston was found tied to a tree behind the Abington Ale House several days later.

Authorities said he later broke into a house in Meredith, N.H., and strangled a third man.

Sampson’s public defenders declined to comment. Federal prosecutors did not immediately comment.

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