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Judge wants defense budget for convicted murderer

December 30, 2013

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge has ordered lawyers for a man convicted of killing three people to file a budget proposal to prepare for his sentencing retrial, where he faces the death penalty.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf ordered last week that the budget for Gary Lee Sampson’s sentencing should include estimates of “the cost of all services,” including lawyers, experts and investigators.

Wolf gave Sampson’s attorneys until noon on Jan. 9 to file a budget request for their work, which will be publicly funded.

The average cost of defending a federal capital trial is almost $621,000, officials at the Death Penalty Information Center, a research organization based in Washington, D.C., told The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/1elm6m1 ).

Sampson, a drifter originally from Abington, pleaded guilty to federal charges and was sentenced to death by a jury in the July 2001 slayings of two men in Massachusetts who had picked him up hitchhiking. He also pleaded guilty to separate state charges for killing a man in New Hampshire.

A federal judge threw out the sentence in 2011, a ruling later upheld by a federal appeals court. The judge who vacated the death sentence found that one of the jurors failed to disclose that she had past encounters with law enforcement.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said earlier this month that prosecutors will again seek the death penalty instead of allowing Sampson to serve a life sentence.

Sampson, now 54, pleaded guilty to carjacking and killing Jonathan Rizzo, 19, of Kingston, and Philip McCloskey, 69, of Taunton. He told police he forced both men to drive to secluded spots, assured them he only wanted to steal their cars, then stabbed them repeatedly and slit their throats.

Sampson then fled to New Hampshire, where he broke into a house in Meredith and strangled Robert Whitney, 59, a former city councilor from Concord.

A date for the sentencing retrial has not been scheduled.

Sampson is being held at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.


Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

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