Beltway Snipers
Front Page
Trump
The News
Crime Murder Mayhem
Election
Obama Administration
Earth
Marijuana
Sex Wars
Native Americans
Space Sci Tech
Austin TX
Rochester NY
Economy
War and Terror
Demonstrations and Revolutions
Issues in Media
Israel/Palestine
Europe
Canada
Ozzies and Kiwis
Latin Americas
Africa
Asia
Editor's Page
Spring!
Summer

Malvo Sentenced to Life: Fewer Minors Being Sentenced to Death

December 26, 2003 -- Washington-area sniper Lee Malvo was sentenced to life in prison by a jury in Chesapeake, VA. Although jurors found the teenager qualified for the death penalty under state rules - agreeing that he poses a future danger and that his crimes were "outrageously or wantonly vile" - they declined to recommend it. Fellow sniper John Muhammad was convicted at a separate trial last month and sentenced to be executed for the three-week shooting spree that left 10 people dead. Malvo's sentence marks a trend away from capital punishment for juveniles. -- The Christian Science Monitor

 
November 24, 2003 VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia  -- Jurors on Monday recommended John Allen Muhammad be sentenced to death for orchestrating last year's sniper shootings in the Washington area.
 
The seven-woman, five-man panel recommended death for two of the four counts Muhammad was convicted of last week in last year's shooting death of Dean Harold Meyers: terrorism and capital murder.
 
Muhammad also received a 10-year sentence recommendation for conspiracy and a three-year sentence recommendation for use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
 
Muhammad showed no sign of emotion as the decisions were read about Monday morning, less than two hours after jurors reconvened for a second day of deliberations. They had deliberated for about four hours Friday.
 
Judge LeRoy Millette set a formal sentencing date of February 12. Under Virginia law, Millette has the final word and can reduce the jury's recommended sentence.
 
Last week the same jury convicted the 42-year-old Muhammad of the October 9, 2002, killing of Meyers outside a Manassas, Virginia, service station. Meyers was one of 10 people killed in the October 2002 sniper killings. Three people were wounded but survived the attacks.
 
After the verdict, prosecutor Paul Ebert endorsed the jury's recommendation.
 
"The death penalty is reserved for the worst of the worst, and we think Mr. Muhammad fell into that category," Ebert said.
 
Muhammad defense attorney Peter Greenspun said he was "bitterly disappointed" with the verdict.
 
"The law in Virginia allows death in these circumstances. We don't see any good that can come of that. The sanction of another death by the government is not likely to benefit anyone," he said. But both Greenspun and co-counsel Jonathan Shapiro said jurors did their best under the law.
 
Muhammad became the first person ever charged and sentenced under Virginia's new post-September 11, 2001 terrorism law, outlawing attempts to intimidate the civilian population at large, or to influence the conduct or activities of the government of the United States, a state or locality through intimidation.
 
Juror: 'Lack of remorse' influenced decision: The decision capped a six-week trial that began with Muhammad attempting to represent himself. He abandoned that attempt after two days of proceedings.
 
Prosecutors argued that Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo -- Muhammad's alleged accomplice currently on trial in nearby Chesapeake -- acted as a team, with Malvo as the trigger man in most of last year's sniper shootings. Millette can reduce the recommended sentence but not increase it.
 
Malvo is on trial in nearby Chesapeake for killing FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47, outside a store in Fairfax County on October 14, 2002. (More on that trial)
 
After the verdict, jurors suggested that Muhammad's behavior during the trial might have influenced their decision.
 
Juror Dennis Bowman said he originally favored a sentence of life in prison without parole. But after a sleepless Sunday night, Bowman said he decided that Muhammad would kill again "sooner or later."
 
"The total lack of remorse seemed to cap it off for us," he said, in addition to "the possibility -- no, probability -- that down the road there will be more casualties from this man."
 
Another juror, Robert Elliott, said he tried to watch Muhammad's demeanor the entire time.
 
"Personally, I looked for something in him that might have shown remorse or anything along those lines, and I just never saw it the whole time," Elliott said.
 
Prosecutors argued for death: Prosecutors argued that Muhammad qualified for the death penalty because he posed a continuing threat to society and his conduct -- actions they said could be considered vile, horrible or inhuman -- reflected "depravity of mind."
 
"One thing's for sure, they took pleasure in terrorizing people," Ebert said. "They took pleasure in killing people. That's the kind of man that doesn't need to be in society."
 
To bolster the prosecution's case, Muhammad's ex-wife testified that Muhammad threatened to "destroy" her after their marriage collapsed in 1999, and an inmate at the Virginia jail where Muhammad was held to await trial described what prosecutors considered an escape attempt earlier this year.
 
No testimony indicated that Muhammad pulled the trigger in the sniper killings, but prosecutors argued that Muhammad and Malvo acted as a team in the attacks.
 
Other testimony linked Muhammad to killings in Alabama, Louisiana and Washington state.
 
In an effort to spare their client's life, defense attorneys Greenspun and Shapiro played a 15-minute videotape for the jury last week showing Muhammad bathing his toddler son, John Jr., teaching the boy to bowl and teaching one of his two daughters to walk. And Muhammad's former girlfriend, Mary Marez, testified that he was a generous, considerate man.
 
"I feel that his life will always have value," Marez said. "He's a person who has so much to give."
 
Bob Meyers, brother of sniper victim Dean Harold Meyers, said Monday he did not "revel" in the verdict but called it "right and proper."
 
"It takes a great leap of faith to think that justice wasn't served today," Meyers said.
 
Virginia has executed 89 convicts since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Condemned prisoners in Virginia have the choice of dying by lethal injection or in the electric chair. (CNN)

Profile of John Allen Muhammad

Features a profile of John Allen Muhammad, one of the two suspects in the Washington, DC, sniper attacks, sentenced to death on November 24, 2003..

Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad might have been exposed to nerve or chemical agents during his military service in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, his attorney said. Jonathan Shapiro said he has specific information that indicates possible exposure, but he declined to elaborate. (Source: Austin American-Statesman 12 April 2003)

Emotional 911 Tape Played in Sniper Case
 
December 19, 2003 -- Jurors at the trial of teenage sniper Lee Boyd Malvo heard an emotionally wrenching 911 call Friday as prosecutors opened their effort to convince the panel that Malvo deserves the death penalty.
 
In the frantic call, William Franklin sobs to the dispatcher that his wife, FBI analyst Linda Franklin, was shot in the head.
 
The opening of the sentencing phase of Malvo's trial came the morning after he was convicted of two counts of capital murder in the spree of slayings that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area last year.
 
The tape was excluded during the guilt phase of Malvo's trial, but Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush turned aside defense objections and ruled it was admissible in the sentencing phase.
 
Prosecutor Ray Morrogh said the tape demonstrates the vileness of the crime, a necessary factor under Virginia law for the jury to impose a death sentence.
 
Prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. said he also will present evidence of an escape attempt Malvo made the day he was arrested in October 2002, to demonstrate that Malvo could pose a future danger.
 
Defense lawyer Thomas Walsh, who had unsuccessfully mounted an insanity defense in the first phase of the trial, asked the jury in his opening statement Friday to remember the difficult circumstances of Malvo's childhood and to conclude "that there's value in this man's life."
 
Malvo, 18, was convicted for the Oct. 14, 2002, killing Franklin, one of 10 people killed by Malvo and partner John Allen Muhammad during the three-week spree. The jury deliberated for 13 hours over two days before rendering its verdict.
 
Malvo's lawyers had claimed that Muhammad had brainwashed the teen so thoroughly that he came to believe his father figure was chosen by Allah to begin a new Utopian society in Canada.
 
Many of the witnesses who testified during the guilt phase of the trial about Malvo's behavior as a child and teenager will also be called during the sentencing phase. It is expected that many will talk about Malvo's difficult upbringing, in which his mother beat him and moved him from home to home, all while he searched for a father figure.
 
Though the insanity defense failed, the jury has already been introduced to many of the arguments the defense will make during sentencing, said Joseph Bowman, a defense attorney who has handled capital cases in Virginia.
 
"By putting on all this psychiatric testimony during the guilt phase, they were able to slip in a lot of evidence to the jury about Malvo's childhood and how and why he could have done what he did," Bowman said.
 
Prosecutors complained frequently during the trial that the insanity defense was simply a red herring that allowed the defense to present testimony that would normally not be allowed in the guilt phase of a trial.
 
Malvo, whose expressions had often been animated throughout the trial, leaned on his elbows at the table with a blank look on his face while the verdict was read.
 
Family members of the sniper victims patted each other on the shoulders as the verdict was read, while Franklin's daughter, Katrina Hannum, cried.
 
Bob Meyers, whose brother was gunned down during the attacks, said he was pleased with the verdict. Muhammad, 42, was convicted of identical charges last month for killing Dean Harold Meyers at a Manassas gas station. The jury recommended the death penalty.
 
"We believe that justice has been served," Meyers said outside the court after the Malvo verdict was announced.
 
Prosecutors portrayed Malvo as a gleeful and eager triggerman, saying he fired shots from the trunk of a beat-up Chevy while Muhammad plotted the attacks.
 
Authorities say the killings were part of an attempt to extort $10 million from the government. Malvo and Muhammad were the first two people tried under Virginia's post-Sept. 11 terrorism law.
 
Malvo was sent to face trial in Virginia on Nov. 7 of last year when he was 17. Attorney General John Ashcroft said he wanted Malvo to be tried in Virginia because of its reputation for imposing the death penalty.
 
Virginia is one of 21 states that allow the execution people for crimes committed when they were 16 or 17. The state is one of only six that have actually executed a juvenile killer since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
 
If the Malvo jury recommends death, Roush will have the option to reduce the sentence to life in prison. If the jury decides for life in prison, its decision cannot be changed.
 
-- article by Amy Westfeldt for AP at Go2Net

From Malvo, Hubris and Contempt
Teen Told of Coldblooded Campaign to Terrorize, Documents Say

Some of the victims of last fall's sniper shootings were shot in the head for the "horrific effect" and to make a point to police, but the boy who was shot outside a Bowie middle school was hit in the back because other children were nearby, suspect Lee Boyd Malvo told investigators, according to law enforcement documents. He said he and his companion wanted police to be aware of their skill and understand that they weren't a random shooter.

Malvo, 18, and his alleged co-conspirator, John Allen Muhammad, 42, are charged in each of last fall's 13 sniper shootings in the Washington area. Ten people were killed in the attacks. Muhammad faces trial first in Prince William County.

Do you have issues?
2ndSight_TV.jpg
2nd Sight Yahoo! Forum

Body & Soul
bodyandsoul_sm.jpg
Science & Spirit

Speak Out at the
cheshire_cat.gif
Mad Yahoo! Forum

Criminal Minds Readers & Writers Resource Forum

Do you have issues?
2ndSight_TV.jpg
2nd Sight Yahoo! Forum

Body & Soul
bodyandsoul_sm.jpg
Science & Spirit

Speak Out at the
cheshire_cat.gif
Mad Yahoo! Forum