Taunton Man’s Killer Dies in Prison
Convicted killer Gary Lee Sampson, who murdered a Taunton man along with two others in a series of carjackings twenty years ago, has died in federal prison in Missouri.
The federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed that the 62-year-old died last week at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners Springfield in Springfield, Missouri.
He passed away on Dec. 21, according to the federal agency.
Sampson was sentenced to death in 2017 in connection to a murdering spree in July 2001 in which he killed 69-year-old Philip McCloskey of Taunton and two other men, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
He pleaded guilty to stabbing McCloskey and 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo of Kingston to death and fatally strangling 58-year-old Robert Whitney of Concord, NH.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the murders took place when Sampson came back to his native Massachusetts after robbing several banks in North Carolina.
He met McCloskey, a 69-year-old retiree, in Weymouth and asked the Taunton man to drive him to a nearby town, where he tied up the victim and fatally stabbed him several times.
Sampson then hitchhiked to Plymouth and was picked up by Rizzo.
The U.S. Attorney's Office stated that Sampson forced the teenager to drive to a remote area before leading him into the woods, tying him to a tree and fatally stabbing him.
He then drove Rizzo’s car to Meredith, New Hampshire and broke into a lake house, where the retired caretaker, Whitney, arrived and found Sampson inside.
Sampson tied Whitney to a chair before strangling him to death, according to the office.
He then fled to Vermont, where he was eventually arrested.
Sampson pleaded guilty to killing McCloskey and Rizzo in 2003 and Whitney in 2004, earning a death sentenced that was later overturned in 2011.
He was sentenced to death again in January 2017, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
But he died in custody last week, although the Bureau of Prisons would not disclose how he died, or any further details.
"For safety, security, and privacy reasons, this office does not share specifics regarding the cause of death for any inmate," the office noted in a statement, adding that the official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.
Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell stated on Dec. 23 that the office is aware of Sampson's death.
"Our thoughts are with the Rizzo, McCloskey and Whitney families today," he stated. "Their resilience is extraordinary."
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