No verdict was reached Thursday after a jury began deliberations to decide if Gary Lee Sampson will be put to death for the brutal killings of two men.
“The playing field is unbalanced, there’s no question about it, but we’ve known that since day one,” said Jonathan Rizzo’s father Mike Rizzo.
The families of murder victims Jonathan Rizzo and Philip McCloskey are left to sit and wait while a jury of seven men and five women decide whether Sampson will be put to death, after his previous death sentence was vacated.
Sampson is accused of carjacking and killing the two men in Massachusetts, before killing a third man in New Hampshire on a week-long rampage in July of 2001.
Jonathan Rizzo’s father says this time around isn’t any easier, just different.
Mike Rizzo said, “We’ve been through it before, but last time it was kind of raw, we were still kind of numb and we were very close to the time when Jonathan was killed, so we didn’t really understand the whole process, we didn’t get the full impact.”
Jurors are not only weighing aggravating factors, including the heinous nature of the murders, but also 115 mitigating factors – including the defense’s contention that Sampson suffered traumatic brain injury as a child and that he has end stage liver failure.
Legal Editor Randy Chapman says the death penalty is never an easy decision for any jury.
Chapman said, “They are deciding issues about whether or not somebody’s going to be put to death, which is nothing that should ever be taken lightly.”
Jurors will resume deliberations Friday.