- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - The Latest on the federal death penalty sentencing retrial of Gary Sampson, a drifter who pleaded guilty to the carjack killings of two Massachusetts men and the strangulation of a third man in New Hampshire (all times local):

1 p.m.

Jurors in the sentencing retrial of a man facing the death penalty for carjacking and killing two Massachusetts men have listened to an audio recording of part of the man’s confession.

Prosecutors played the audio Wednesday during the trial of Gary Sampson.

Sampson pleaded guilty and was given the death penalty in 2003, but a judge later granted him a new sentencing trial.

In the recording, Sampson said he returned to his hometown of Abington, Massachusetts, in July 2001, with the intention of killing the town’s police chief. When he couldn’t find him, he started walking, then hitchhiking. He said that’s when he got a ride from his first victim, 69-year-old Philip McCloskey.

The families of Sampson’s victims sat quietly listening to gruesome details about the killings.

Testimony is set to resume Thursday.

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11:05 a.m.

A lawyer for a man facing the death penalty for the carjack killings of two Massachusetts men has told jurors: “His brain has been broken for a very long time.”

During opening statements Wednesday in the sentencing retrial of Gary Sampson, his lawyer said he has struggled with traumatic brain injury since he fell down the stairs at age 4.

Sampson pleaded guilty to killing 69-year-old Philip McCloskey and 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo. He also pleaded guilty to killing a third man in New Hampshire during the same week in 2001.

He was sentenced to death in 2003, but a judge granted him a new sentencing trial in 2011.

A prosecutor told jurors earlier that Sampson used his brain to get his victims to trust him and “outsmarted” them all.

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9:25 a.m.

A federal prosecutor has told jurors that a man who admitted carjacking and killing two Massachusetts men in 2001 manipulated his victims by promising them he would let them live but then stabbed them over and over again.

During opening statements Wednesday in the sentencing retrial of Gary Sampson, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Chao said Sampson dressed in his “murder outfit,” conservative clothes aimed at fooling people into letting down their guard.

Sampson pleaded guilty to killing 69-year-old Philip McCloskey and 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo and strangling a third man in New Hampshire.

Sampson was sentenced to death, but a federal judge overturned that sentence in 2011 and granted him a new sentencing trial.

Sampson’s lawyers will ask for a sentence of life in prison instead of the death penalty.

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12:35 a.m.

A drifter who was sentenced to death in the carjack killings of two Massachusetts men will ask a new jury to spare his life at a retrial that’s set to get underway in Boston.

Gary Sampson was sentenced to death in 2003, but a judge granted him a new sentencing trial in 2011.

Sampson pleaded guilty to killing 69-year-old Philip McCloskey and 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo during a weeklong crime rampage in 2001. He was convicted separately in New Hampshire in the killing of a former city councilor from Concord.

The new jury will be asked to decide Sampson’s punishment: life in prison or the death penalty.

Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1984, but Sampson was prosecuted under federal law.

Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday in federal court.

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