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Killer Sampson's lawyers say death penalty should be off table

BOSTON — Lawyers for accused triple-murderer Gary Sampson, whose 2004 death penalty conviction has been overturned, have filed 25 reasons why he should not face the death penalty in a future trial.

The filings were made Friday and Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston. Some deal with the Sampson case specifically — that evidence from the 2001 murders is stale, and the unconstitionality of executing someone with a severe mental disorder.

Others challenge the death penalty itself — it is rarely if ever imposed in the region, that executions aren’t public, that lethal injection are cruel and unusual, that racial disparities are pervasive in death penality cases.

The motions were filed by three attorneys, one who works for the Houston-area Gulf Region Advocacy Project, and another a federal public defender.

Judge Mark Wolf has told lawyers to file supporting motions by Thursday and work out a schedule by next Monday.

Sampson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2001 strangulation death of Robert Eli Whitney of Concord, N.H., after his 2004 conviction of the stabbing deaths of two Massachusetts residents in a carjacking crime spree.

The convictions were overturned in 2012 after Wolf ruled that a juror had not truthfully disclosed her family’s criminal past.


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