Dec 4, 2014 8:08 AM
Death penalty challenge heard in '01 carjacking murders
The Associated Press
BOSTON - Lawyers for a man who confessed to carjacking and killing two men in Massachusetts and killing a third man in New Hampshire have argued that the federal government should not force the death penalty on Massachusetts, a state that has rejected capital punishment.
Gary Lee Sampson was sentenced to death in 2003 by a federal jury in Boston, but that sentence was overturned eight years later by U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf. The judge found that a juror's lies about her background deprived Sampson of his right to an impartial jury.
A second sentencing trial is set for February.
Sampson's lawyers have filed a series of motions challenging the constitutionality of the federal death penalty.
Massachusetts abolished its state penalty in 1984. Sampson was prosecuted under a federal statute.
Wolf did not immediately rule Wednesday.