Testimony to Begin in Drifter’s Death Penalty Retrial

FILE - This Aug. 2, 2001, file photo shows Gary Sampson during arraignment in district court in Brockton, Mass. Sampson was sentenced to death in 2003 for the carjack killings of multiple men in 2001, but the sentence was overturned in 2011. A sentencing retrial for Sampson is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in federal court in Boston. (AP Photo/The Patriot Ledger, Greg Derr, Pool, File)

(AP Photo/The Patriot Ledger, Greg Derr, Pool, File)

BOSTON (AP) — A drifter who was sentenced to death in the carjack killings of two Massachusetts men will ask a new jury to spare his life at a retrial that’s set to get underway in Boston.

Gary Sampson was sentenced to death in 2003, but a judge granted him a new sentencing trial in 2011.

Sampson pleaded guilty to killing 69-year-old Philip McCloskey and 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo during a weeklong crime rampage in 2001. He was convicted separately in New Hampshire in the killing of a former city councilor from Concord.

The new jury will be asked to decide Sampson’s punishment: life in prison or the death penalty.

Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1984, but Sampson was prosecuted under federal law.

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