May 10, 2013

New England Dispatches

From news service reports


Court asked to reinstate death penalty for killer of 3

Prosecutors have asked a federal appeals court to reinstate the death penalty sentence handed down to a man who killed three people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Gary Sampson, a drifter who grew up in Abington, was convicted in 2003 of killing 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo of Kingston, 69-year-old Philip McCloskey of Taunton, and 58-year-old Robert Whitney of Concord, N.H., over a six-day stretch in 2001.

He was sentenced to death, but in 2011 a judge ordered a new sentencing trial because one juror had intentionally answered questions dishonestly on a juror questionnaire in an attempt to hide her family's criminal past.

Sampson's lawyer said the juror's lies were relevant.

Prosecutors argued Wednesday there was no reason to set the sentence aside, since issues on the questionnaire were not connected to Sampson's crimes.


Convicted gangster reputed to know of museum theft

A reputed Connecticut mobster was sentenced Thursday to 2 1/2 years in prison in a weapons and prescription drugs case that revealed federal authorities' belief that he knows something about the largest art heist in U.S. history.

A prosecutor disclosed that Robert Gentile, 76, failed a polygraph when asked if he knew the whereabouts of paintings worth $500 million that were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham said there was a 99 percent chance that Gentile was lying when he denied knowing where the art was, according to a polygraph expert.


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