‘Rot in Hell': Families Condemn Sampson at Sentencing

Relatives of the victim will have a chance to speak, and so will Sampson if he chooses to

The long, painful nightmare for the families of murder victims Jonathan Rizzo and Phillip McCloskey will never end, but another important chapter is closed.

The man who admitted to killing them and a third man in a week-long crime spree in July 2001, Gary Lee Sampson, has now been formally sentenced to death for a second time.

"It was about not giving up and it was about making sure we got justice, but now we want it to be over," said Jonathan Rizzo's father, Michael.

"I think that he's just a waste of space, waste of breath," said Phillip McCloskey's son, Scott. "He can rot in hell and stay in prison for the rest of his life until he's put to death."

Sampson's first death sentence was thrown out for juror misconduct. Last month, a second jury sentenced him to die.

"Not just one, but two Massachusetts juries have decided that the just punishment for torturing and brutally murdering three men is a sentence of death," acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said.

Friday, Sampson refused to go quietly, swearing at the prosecutor when he called Sampson a coward, and swearing at the judge when he tried to restore order in the courtroom.

"He's just showing what kind of guy he is," McCloskey said. "He's showing exactly where he's coming from and why he deserves the death penalty."

"I think until that happens, we will still be living on the edge thinking that something else could go wrong," Rizzo said.

Sampson will soon be brought to death row in Terre Haute, Indiana.

It's unclear how long his appeals will last, but relatives of both victims say they plan to be there in person for his execution.

Contact Us