- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - A federal trial to determine whether Gary Lee Sampson should be sentenced to death for carjacking and killing two Massachusetts men more than a decade ago has been delayed.

The Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/13tTHdv ) reports that U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf postponed the trial from February until Sept. 16 after defense lawyers said they would not be prepared for the earlier start.

Sampson pleaded guilty to killing 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo and 69-year-old Philip McCloskey during a weeklong crime spree in 2001. A jury recommended the death penalty, but a judge later ordered a new trial after finding that a juror had lied about her background.

The 55-year-old Sampson, who was also convicted of killing a man in New Hampshire, appeared in court last week for the first time since being sentenced in 2004.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement Tuesday she was disappointed with the delay.

“We join the victims in our deep disappointment with the court’s decision today,” Ortiz said. “A seven-month delay for the resentencing of this case will have a profound impact on the families of the three men murdered by the defendant. We will continue to do everything in our power to move this case forward and ensure that justice is served.”

Sampson was the first person sentenced to death in Massachusetts under the federal death penalty statute. Massachusetts has not had a state death penalty since it was abolished by the Legislature in 1984.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

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