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Keller @ Large: Victims' Families Still Waiting For Justice In Sampson Case

BOSTON (CBS) - Do you know who Philip McCloskey, Jonathan Rizzo and Robert Whitney are?

Throughout the day today, you'll be hearing about Gary Sampson, a confessed serial killer whose second death penalty trial is set to begin Wednesday in federal court here in Boston. But while you may recognize his name, it wouldn't be surprising if you had trouble identifying McCloskey, Rizzo and Whitney, Sampson's innocent victims.

Gary Lee Sampson
Gary Lee Sampson. (WBZ-TV file photo)

That's because more than 15 years have passed since Sampson went on his exceptionally vicious, random killing spree. McCloskey was 69, Whitney 58; Rizzo was just 19 years old. For 15 years, their devastated families have been grieving without justice, in some cases enduring repeated visits to the courthouse as Sampson has enjoyed a publicly-funded defense and every benefit of the doubt that the justice system allows.

That's our system, you may be thinking; defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

But there was never any doubt about Sampson's guilt. He made no effort to conceal it, confessing in full after his arrest and pleading guilty. If there ever was a fitting nominee for the death penalty, both in the premeditated heinousness of his crimes and the lack of any doubt about his guilt, it's Gary Sampson.

And yet here we are, 15 long years after the most basic human rights of Philip McCloskey, Jonathan Rizzo and Robert Whitney were egregiously violated, and we're still watching our justice system bend itself into a pretzel shape to protect the rights of their killer.

There's something wrong with this picture. Very wrong.

Unjust, you might say.

Listen to Jon's commentary:

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