Prosecutors, victims contemplate whether to pursue death penalty against Gary Lee Sampson

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In the weeks since a federal appeals court threw out the death sentence and ordered a new sentencing trial for Gary Lee Sampson, an admitted serial killer, because of a problem with a juror, prosecutors and those close to the case have painstakingly been debating how to proceed: Whether to move on and let Sampson serve life in prison, or whether to seek the death penalty again in a new trial.

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz would only comment that she will announce her decision on how to proceed once it is reached, saying, “For more than 12 years we have been committed to seeing that justice is done in this case.”

But legal analysts said that federal prosecutors will heavily weigh the recommendations of the families of Sampson’s victims as they decide how to proceed, and it will be a balancing act between reopening wounds from the trial a decade ago, and trying to bring closure.

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