As Gary Lee Sampson fights for his life in his federal death penalty retrial, the government rested its case in chief Monday and the defense took over, presenting its first witness.
Retired Terre Haute federal penitentiary warden and defense team correctional consultant Mark Beezy testified about the conditions Sampson could face in prison if he is given a life sentence.
This video of Sampson allegedly attempting to assault a corrections officer with a broom handle sharpened into a shank was central to the testimony. The government arguing it shows how dangerous Sampson is while in custody, even in the Special Containment Unit on death row.
Beezy testified that even the current warden believes Sampson’s bark is worse than his bite.
He said on the stand, “I see him as a cell warrior. As long as he’s in restraints he knows he can’t do it, so he throws wolf tickets out to show everyone how big and bad he is.”
Beezy also testified that Sampson told him that if he was able to get off death row, his goals for the future would be to spend time in the prison library, explore his artistic side by painting more, and visit with his brother.
Beezy has testified for the defense in 16 death penalty cases, including on behalf of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The defense continues with its case Tuesday, then jurors will take a break until after the Thanksgiving holiday.