Jurors got a glimpse Tuesday of Gary Lee Sampson's life before becoming a killer as his defense team in his sentencing retrial tried to convince the jury to give him life.
On the stand was Sampson's brother, Wayne, who testified that Gary would get into trouble over and over again.
"I don't think he ever saw the consequences over the stupid things he would do sometimes," Wayne Sampson said.
Childhood friend Michael Hasson echoed that.
"He didn't actually quite fit in," Hasson testified. "It always seemed like there was a piece of a puzzle missing. As we got older, most of us were learning by our mistakes, it seemed like Gary wasn't quite catching on."
Two Abington educators took the stand, testifying that Gary Sampson's school records showed that while he excelled at art and music, he had trouble with reading comprehension, phonetics and even the alphabet – suggesting possible brain damage, as the defense claimed in its opening statement.
Wayne Sampson testified that Gary dropped out of school and ended up in jail, but had a brief period as an adult when he started getting his life back together.
Sampson got married and had a son, but according to Wayne, "He started drinking again and then he went off the deep end."
The defendant's brother was also asked how he'd feel if the death penalty were confirmed.
"I'd be seriously heartbroken over that," Wayne Sampson said. "He's my only brother. I love him. I don't want anything like that to happen to him."
Jurors are off for the Thanksgiving holiday. The defense will continue to call its witnesses when Sampson's sentencing retrial resumes Monday.