Federal Judge Rules Gary Lee Sampson Should Get New Sentencing Trialon October 21, 2011 in Serial Killers by Brian Combs
Over the course of a week in July 2001, Gary Lee Sampson carjacked and murdered three people. The crimes occurred in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The case was heard in federal court in Boston. Sampson plead guilty. After a six week trial, the jury deliberated for ten hours, and sentenced him to death.
On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that Sampson should receive a new sentencing trial. Apparently, one of the jurors who voted for the death penalty was misleading when she answered questions during jury selection.
Chief US District Judge Mark Wolf wrote:
It has now been proven that Sampson did not receive the fair process that the Constitution guarantees every man no matter how despicable his conduct. Therefore, Sampson must be given a new trial to determine his sentence.
Under the Sixth Amendment, every defendant in a criminal case has a constitutional right to be tried by an impartial jury. An impartial jury is a touchstone of a fair trial and has been defined as a jury capable and willing to decide the case solely on the evidence before it
According to Wolf’s ruling, one juror did not tell the court that she had taken a restraining order out against her former husband, that he had substance abuse problems, that he physically assaulted her and threatened her with his rifle, and that her daughter had served jail time for drug abuse.
The juror was required to disclose this information in the 70-question survey that she had to fill out as one of hundreds of potential jurors. Wolf said he didn’t feel she lied to the court in order to punish Sampson, but that it still called into question her impartiality.
Note: It may be that Sampson should be classified as a spree killer, not a serial killer. His three murders were committed over a week, which is a long time to go without a cooling off period. On the other hand, there are allegations that Sampson is bipolar. A manic could certainly last that long.