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Sniper Trial Update

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Muhammad sentenced to death March 9th

A Virginia prosecutor says he takes no pleasure in applying the death penalty -- but he says a judge did the right thing in sentencing John Muhammad to death.

The sentence today came after the judge rejected an appeal from lawyers for the Washington-area sniper. They said the judge should
go against the recommendations of a jury, and spare Muhammad's life.

Prosecutor Paul Ebert says he disagrees with defense lawyers when they say they see no evil in Muhammad. He says he sees "nothing but evil."

Ebert says he's prosecuted a lot of cases in his career -- and he described this one as "the worst of the worst."

Muhammad sentenced to death March 9th

A Virginia judge is going along with a jury's recommendation to sentence convicted sniper John Muhammad to death.

Muhammad spoke to the court before sentencing, denying any involvement in the Washington-area sniper shootings. He told the judge, "I had nothing to do with this" -- and added, "Don't make a fool of the Constitution of the United States of America."

The judge ordered Muhammad to be executed on October 14th, but that date could be postponed to allow appeals. The judge earlier rejected a plea from Muhammad's lawyers to spare their client's life and order a new trial.

The 43-year-old Muhammad was convicted of capital murder in November in one of the sniper killings, and jurors recommended a death sentence.

Convicted accomplice Lee Malvo is to be formally sentenced tomorrow. The jury in that case had recommended life in prison.

Muhammad Speaks March 9th

Muhammad today again denied any involvement in the killings. He said, "I had nothing to do with this." And he told the judge, "Don't make a fool of the Constitution of the United States of America."

Defense March 9th

The judge set an execution date for October 14th.

Defense lawyers appealed today for the judge to spare Muhammad's
life. But family members of two of the victims told of the devastating effect the shootings had on their families.

Sentenced March 9th

A judge in Virginia has sentenced sniper John Muhammad to death.

Victim's brother testifies at Muhammad sentencing hearing March 9th

A judge in Virginia has been hearing emotional testimony from the brother of the man John Muhammad was convicted of killing in one of the Washington-area sniper attacks.

The judge will be deciding later today whether to sentence Muhammad to death, as a jury recommended.

Testifying today at the sentencing hearing, Larry Meyers said the death of his brother, Dean, was a "double loss" -- since it was followed months later by the death of their mother.

He described the shooting victim as "not only my brother, but my very best friend." And he said he was the type of person who would "go where you go, do what you do, talk about what you want to talk about."

Prosecutors are also presenting testimony from the daughter of another of the shooting victims, Linda Franklin. The second sniper, Lee Malvo, was convicted in Franklin's death.

Earlier today, the judge rejected a defense request for a new trial for Muhammad. They said they hadn't known before the trial about letters written by Malvo -- letters they say showed that he acted independently of Muhammad.

Sniper mastermind Muhammad to be sentenced March 9th

(Manassas, Virginia-AP) -- A judge will decide today whether John Muhammad should die for his role in a 2002 sniper spree that killed ten people in the Washington DC area.

In November, a jury recommended Muhammad be sentenced to death for the murder of Dean Meyers at a gas station near Manassas, Virginia. The judge has the option of reducing that sentence to life in prison without parole.

Defense lawyers are urging leniency -- citing Muhammad's clean record before the attacks, the effect of an execution on his children and the general sanctity of human life.

Muhammad will get a chance to address the court today. Victims'
families will also get to speak. Defense lawyers want to limit that testimony to Meyers' family. But prosecutors say the families of other sniper victims also should testify.

Muhammad's partner in the killing spree, Lee Malvo, will be sentenced tomorrow (Wednesday) in Chesapeake, Virginia. A jury has recommended Malvo get life in prison.

Several other states, including Alabama, Louisiana and Maryland, have sought extradition of Muhammad and Malvo for murders they allegedly committed in those states.

Virginia rejects requests to extradite convicted snipers January 26th 2004

Virgina Governor Mark R- Warner has NO plans to extradite convicted snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo to Alabama or two other states -- clearing the way for Virginia prosecutors to put Malvo on trial again and seek the death penalty.

Both Malvo and Muhammad were convicted last year for their roles in the October 2002 sniper spree that terrorized the Washington region and left ten people dead. A Virginia Beach jury recommended a death sentence for Muhammad while the 18-year-old Malvo was given a life term by a jury in Chesapeake.

Several other states, including Alabama, Louisiana and Maryland, have sought extradition of the pair for murders they allegedly committed in these states. Alabama and Louisiana could seek the death penalty against Malvo; Maryland law does NOT allow Malvo to be punished by death because he was only 17 years old at the time of the sniper killings.

But the pair can only be extradited at the direction of the governor. Warner's office says it has NO plans to prevent Virginia prosecutors from trying the cases.

Muhammad hearing to be postponed January 7th

The February 12th sentencing of sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad will be rescheduled to a later date, according to a Virginia court official.

Muhammad, convicted of capital murder and given a death sentence last year by a jury in Virginia Beach, still must be formally sentenced by Circuit Judge LeRoy F. Millette Junior.

Millette has the option to reduce Muhammad's sentence to life in prison, but Virginia judges rarely do so.

One of Muhammad's lawyers, Jonathan Shapiro, will be out of the country, so a new sentencing date will be set, most likely in March or April.

Court administrator Robert Marsh said a new date will be set at a hearing Friday.

Meanwhile, an Alabama prosecutor -- Montgomery County D-A Ellen
Brooks -- is awaiting a reply from Virginia Governor Mark Warner on
a request to extradite convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo for a second
capital murder trial. Malvo and Muhammad are each charged with
capital murder for the September 21st, 2002 double shooting outside
a state-owned liquor store in Montgomery.

Future trials for Malvo? December 24th

Now that a Virginia jury has spared convicted sniper Lee Malvo from the death penalty, where will he go next?

Malvo and fellow convicted sniper John Muhammad still could be tried in other shootings in Virginia and elsewhere, and they could get the death penalty. Muhammad has already gotten a death sentence for his role in last year's sniper attacks.

Prosecutors in Alabama, Maryland and Louisiana have said they want a crack at Muhammad, and Malvo could face a similar fate.

After the jury returned its sentencing recommendation for the 18-year-old Malvo yesterday, prosecutor Robert Horan said Malvo is "very lucky that he looks a lot younger than he is." He also says the timing of the deliberations -- just days before Christmas -- also affected the jury.

Defense attorney Craig Cooley agrees Malvo's youthful looks probably affected the sentence. He says the conviction will be appealed.

Defense witnesses portray softer side of Malvo December 22nd

The defense has rested its case in the sentencing phase of Lee Malvo's murder trial, after painting a gentler picture of the convicted sniper.

Malvo's estranged father testified that his son dreamed of being a pilot as a young child. Leslie Malvo says the two of them used to watch planes landing, adding "Lee loved it very much."

The older Malvo testified for less than 15 minutes -- over the objections of prosecutors. They said his earlier testimony in the guilt phase of the trial didn't add much.

Leslie Malvo lived with his son in Jamaica until he turned five. That's when Lee Malvo's mother moved away and took him with her. Father and son saw each other only a few times after that. Malvo is now 18.

Jury deliberations under way in Malvo trial December 17th

Jurors in Chesapeake, Virginia, have started their deliberations in the murder trial of Lee Malvo.

The jury is considering whether the 18-year-old sniper suspect was a puppet in last year's shooting rampage -- or an active partner.

Malvo's attorneys had used an insanity defense during the trial, saying he was brainwashed by older, convicted sniper John Muhammad.

But prosecutors say the sniper killing Malvo is on trial for was
deliberate and premeditated. And they say Malvo knew what he was
doing.

The lead prosecutor told the jury in closing arguments yesterday
that Malvo and Muhammad carried out the rampage to pressure the
government into giving them money.

A defense lawyer ended his closing argument by showing a photo
of Muhammad on a courtroom screen, telling the jury that Malvo was
"the last victim of John Muhammad."

Prosecutor says Malvo was mean, greedy December 16th

He was motivated by greed, and propelled by meanness.

That's how prosecutors are describing Lee Malvo, the teen-ager accused of taking part in last year's Washington-area sniper attacks.

Closing arguments are under way in Malvo's trial in Chesapeake, Virginia -- where defense lawyers have been trying to show thatMalvo was legally insane at the time of the shootings. They say he was under the control of the man who's already been convicted in the attacks, John Muhammad.

But prosecutor Robert Horan (hohr-AN') told jurors today that Muhammad and Malvo believed that if they killed enough people, the
government would give them the ten (m) million dollars they were
demanding.

And he says jurors should accept Malvo's confession to police last year at face value.

Malvo has since recanted his confession -- telling defense psychiatrists that he had admitted to being the triggerman only to protect Muhammad.

Malvo is charged with the slaying of F-B-I employee Linda Franklin in October of last year.

Sniper trial resumes with prosecution saying Malvo was triggerman December 15th

Was he lying then or is he lying now?

The trial of sniper suspect Lee Malvo continues today as the prosecution tries to prove the young man was the triggerman in the
shootings.

That's what Malvo initially told police. But months later, the 18-year-old told mental health experts he was the spotter in all but one of ten killings.

Prosecutors say the second story is a lie Malvo told psychiatrists.

To counter it, today they plan to let jurors hear from survivors of two earlier shootings.

The witnesses include a Maryland man wounded at a liquor store and a woman from Washington state who was shot in the face immediately after opening her front door.

Malvo is on trial for the slaying of FBI analyst Linda Franklin at a Home Depot parking lot in northern Virginia.

Psychologist testifies sniper suspect Malvo was legally insane December 10th

A defense psychiatrist is telling jurors that teen sniper suspect Lee Malvo was legally insane during last year's sniper shootings.

Diane Schetky testified that Malvo showed a "pathological loyalty" to convicted sniper John Muhammad -- and could not distinguish between right and wrong.

She was the second expert witness to diagnose Malvo with a dissociative disorder. Defense attorneys expect to call a third expert who will also share that view.

Prosecutors are challenging the psychiatric testimony -- saying Malvo was a willing participant in the shootings. They are expected to put on their own mental health expert.

Psychiatrist: Malvo tried to shoot himself December 9th

A psychiatrist says teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo was so despondent in the months before last year's shooting rampage that he tried to kill himself.

Testifying for the defense at the trial in Virginia, Dr. Diane Schetky said Malvo felt "a lot of despair" after learning of the plan for random sniper killings from mastermind John Allen Muhammad.

Schetky says Malvo feared he would die as a result of the "mission" and so he tried to shoot himself. But she says Malvo ultimately decided that he owed loyalty to the man he viewed as a father and couldn't let him down.

The suicide attempt reportedly took place in August 2002, two months before the killings began in the Washington DC area. Schetky did not give any details or say whether Malvo injured himself.

The defense says Malvo was so severely brainwashed by Muhammad
that he could not tell right from wrong and was legally insane during the sniper attacks.

Judge gags attorneys in Malvo trial December 4, 2003/i

You won't be hearing any more from the attorneys in suspected sniper Lee Malvo's trial.

A judge in Virginia has slapped a gag order on the lawyers, preventing them from talking to the media.

Her decision came after a letter written by the suspect -- a letter she had refused to let the jury see -- ended up being printed in The Washington Post. Both sides denied leaking the letter.

The judge said she was also growing "increasingly disturbed" by the defense holding news conferences each day after court. She said they are attempts to reach jurors and their families.

Malvo is charged in the sniper shootings that petrified the Washington DC area last fall. The defense has mounted an insanity defense -- claiming Malvo was brainwashed by John Muhammad, who has been convicted in the shootings.

Judge won't let Malvo attorney introduce letter from suspect December 3rd

A judge isn't allowing a letter from sniper suspect Lee Malvo to be introduced as evidence at his trial.

The judge in Chesapeake, Virginia says the letter is hearsay, so it can't be introduced.

It was written by Malvo in the months before last year's sniper attacks --and sent to a niece of sniper John Muhammad.

One witness says she saw it as a cry for help. Muhammad's first wife testified that Malvo was looking for a way out of his situation.

One of Malvo's lawyers referred to the letter during his opening statement. He says Malvo had written that Muhammad would kill him
"for a righteous society to prevail."

Defense lawyers are presenting an insanity defense. They say Muhammad brainwashed the teen-ager and molded him into a killer to
help carry out last year's Washington-area sniper attacks.

Prosecutor: DC snipers probably will be brought to Louisiana in Spring December 3rd

An East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutor says trying John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo in Louisiana for a Baton Rouge murder will provide insurance that they ultimately will face the death penalty.

Alabama prosecutors are also calling for Muhammad to face trial in their state.

Malvo is currently on trial in Virginia for one of the shootings which killed ten people and wounded six in and around the nation's capital. A Virginia jury has recommended the death penalty for Muhammad in another killing.

Arraignments scheduled yesterday in state district court in Baton Rouge were postponed indefinitely. First Assistant DA John Sinquefield says the two probably will be extradited in April or May, after Malvo's trial.

In addition to the shootings in the Washington area, Malvo and Muhammad are accused in earlier shootings -- three of them fatal -- in Louisiana, Washington state, Arizona, Georgia and Alabama.

In Baton Rouge, they're accused of killing a woman September 23rd, 2002. State and federal officials say ballistics tests link the bullets that killed the victim to the weapon used in the Washington, DC, area.

Receipts found in Muhammad's car also indicate the pair were in Baton Rouge when Ballenger was shot.

Witness says Malvo tried to get out of his "situation" December 2nd

Jurors in the trial of accused teen sniper Lee Malvo have heard testimony today that Malvo wanted to escape his "situation."

That testimony came from Carol Williams, the ex-wife of convicted sniper John Muhammad.

Williams says Malvo wrote a letter to her teen-age niece in the summer of last year, just months before the D-C sniper shootings started.

The letter was not read to the jury, and it's not clear what "situation" Malvo wanted to get out of. At the time, Malvo was traveling with Muhammad and was being described as his son.

Defense lawyers are presenting an insanity defense, arguing that Muhammad brainwashed Malvo to turn him into a killer.

There's also been testimony today from a son Muhammad had with his first wife. He told jurors that Muhammad had manipulated him into thinking his mother had abused him.

Absent Muhammad still in the spotlight at Malvo trial December 2nd

Even in silence, convicted sniper John Muhammad is expected to remain a focus of the defense today in the trial of alleged accomplice Lee Malvo.

A judge today is expected to discuss whether his military records can be introduced.

Yesterday, Muhammad's wife and acquaintances testified as the defense laid out its insanity case. In fact, even though Muhammad is refusing to testify, jurors yesterday heard more about him than Malvo. The defense is trying to show Muhammad brainwashed their teenage client and molded him into a killer.

Mildred Muhammad testified that John Muhammad was a disciplinarian who "had to have complete control" of their three children.

Malvo's lawyers had hoped to put Muhammad on the stand this week, but learned that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He still faces trials in other states.

Alabama, Maryland, Louisiana want next crack at Muhammad, but at
what cost?
November 26th

Alabama prosecutors are not alone in calling for sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad to face trial in their state.

District attorneys in Maryland and Louisiana also want him extradited even though he has already been condemned to die in Virginia. Lee Boyd Malvo is on trial separately and could face the death penalty.

The requests raises questions of whether pursuing justice everywhere is worth the cost.

Prosecutors say that convictions in more than one jurisdiction are insurance against reversals on appeal, and that trials give comfort to victims and their families.

The survivor of a shooting in Montgomery does NOT want to see them tried in Alabama if they both are convicted and sentenced to death.

Kellie Adams was critically wounded in the September 21st, 2002,
shooting. Adams said yesterday it would be "pointless" to try men already awaiting execution.

Maryland prosecutors say victims' families desperately want to have their day in court.

A prosecutor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said he will seek the death penalty against Muhammad and Malvo in the September 23rd, 2002, killing and robbery of a 45-year-old man.

Montgomery sniper victim doesn't want Alabama trial November 25th

The survivor of a shooting blamed on sniper suspects John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo said today she does NOT want to see them tried in Alabama if they both are convicted and sentenced to death.

Kellie Adams was critically wounded in the September 21st, 2002, shooting outside a Montgomery liqour store. But she says it would be "pointless" to try men already awaiting execution.

A Virginia jury has recommended Muhammad be put to death for the fatal shooting of a Maryland man outside a Manassas, Virginia, gas station.

Malvo is on trial separately and could face the death penalty.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Adams cited the stress she felt when testifying in Muhammad's trial last month. She also noted the high cost of transporting the defendants and staging a trial in Alabama, which already is in the midst of a budget crisis.

District Attorney Ellen Brooks previously has said she intends to try Muhammad and Malvo in Alabama. She did NOT immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Jury recommends death for Muhammad November 24th

A Virginia prosecutor says the death penalty is reserved for the worst offenders -- and he says sniper John Muhammad certainly fits that category.

Paul Ebert spoke to reporters at a Virginia Beach courthouse today, shortly after winning a recommended death sentence from the jury in Muhammad's murder trial.

Ebert says despite having a case built mainly on circumstantial evidence, the prosecution was able to show that Muhammad had committed "atrocious" acts, wreaked terror on the Washington area last year -- and even planned to strike in other places.

Ebert says someone who took "pleasure" in killing people doesn't deserve to be part of society. He says Muhammad represented a "future danger."

A man who was wounded in the sniper attacks says he's not a fan of the death penalty. But Paul LaRuffa says he thinks in this case, it was "the right decision."

Jurors in both sniper trials return to work todayNovember 24th

Jurors in both sniper trials get back to work today in separate Virginia courtrooms.

In Chesapeake, the prosecution continues to present its case against Lee Malvo.

Before the weekend recess, jurors heard a two-hour interview police had conducted with the teen sniper suspect. In it, Malvo could be heard bragging about his shooting skills and how victims were targeted.

His attorneys insist that was done when Malvo was "still very much under the indoctrination of John Muhammad."

Jurors in Muhammad's trial in Virginia Beach are to resume deliberations on whether to sentence him to death or life in prison.

They've indicated there might be a possible deadlock. But the judge has told them to keep working toward a unanimous decision.

Malvo and Muhammad also are charged with capital murder in Alabama for the September 2002 shooting death of Claudine Parker outside a state-run liquor store in Montgomery.

Malvo says on tape that shootings carefully planned November 21st

Lee Malvo's trial in Virginia has wrapped up for the weekend -- but not before jurors heard a tape of the teen sniper suspect talking to police.

Malvo is heard telling officers last year's shootings were carefully planned -- and that he sometimes returned to the scenes to watch police.

A detective has also testified Malvo laughed when recounting some of the shootings. She said when she asked Malvo why he shot at a boy outside a Maryland middle school, Malvo responded that it was "a phase."

Malvo's on trial in the shooting death of an FBI analyst outside a Home Depot store in Virginia. He says on the tape that he picked Linda Franklin as a target because she had moved into his "zone."

Testimony will resume Monday.

Jurors at Muhammad's penalty trial begin deliberations November 21st

Jury deliberations are under way in the sentencing phase of John Muhammad's trial.

They're to decide whether the convicted sniper should be executed or sent to prison for the rest of his life.

The judge's last words to the jury were: "Good luck." The jury left the courtroom at 9:06 AM, Eastern time.

The panel of seven women and five men is the same one that convicted Muhammad on Monday. They've spent the past week hearing a series of witnesses for the prosecution and defense.

Prosecutors describe Muhammad as a merciless killer who terrified the nation, and that he deserves to die. But defense attorneys contend Muhammad once had a meaningful life as a devoted father, and they urged the jurors to listen to their hearts and not to add another death to the sniper attacks.

At a later hearing, the judge can confirm or reduce the jury's recommended sentence.

Defense witnesses in Muhammad's trial; prosecution to finish in Malvo's November 20th

More defense witnesses are expected today at John Muhammad's trial, while the prosecution is expected to wrap up its case against sniper suspect Lee Malvo.

Once the testimony is completed at Muhammad's trial in Virginia Beach, Virginia, attorneys will present closing arguments. Then, jurors would begin deciding whether the convicted killer should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

The jury heard different descriptions of Muhammad yesterday from his ex-wife and longtime mistress.

Mildred Muhammad told of continual death threats from her ex-husband, and said even their youngest daughter feared her father would get out of prison and kill her mother.

Mary Merez of Tacoma, Washington testified Muhammad had a good heart and so much to give. She cried at the memory of her lover's sadness when he lost custody of his children.

In nearby Chesapeake, many of the witnesses on the stand at Malvo's trial had earlier testified at Muhammad's. They described the devastation that a single bullet can cause to a body -- and to the victims' families.

Mildred Muhammad testifying at sentencing trial of ex-husbandNovember 19th

Mildred Muhammad has provided some shocking words for jurors at the sentencing trial of her ex-husband.

She testified that she and the man now convicted in the sniper case were married in Washington state, but later had problems and got into a dispute about their three children.

When she wanted to leave, she says Muhammad told her -- "you have now become my enemy, and as my enemy I will have to kill you."

Throughout her testimony she remained calm and deliberate, while her former husband showed no reaction.

The prosecution hopes this testimony will prove to jurors that Muhammad is so dangerous he must be put to death.

Jurors could begin deliberations as early as tomorrow in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

In nearby Chesapeake, the trial of the teen sniper suspect continues today with more prosecution witnesses taking the stand.

Both sniper trials resume today, head into key phase tomorrowNovember 19th

Both sniper trials resume today in separate Virginia courtrooms.

In Virginia Beach, attorneys for both sides could finish their cases in the sentencing part of John Muhammad's trial. That means jurors could begin deciding as early as tomorrow whether to recommend a death sentence or life in prison.

The prosecution's final witnesses today are expected to include the emotional testimony of relatives of Dean Meyers, the man Muhammad was convicted of killing. Muhammad's attorneys will present witnesses who will testify Muhammad was a loving father and his life should be spared.

At Lee Malvo's trial in nearby Chesapeake, the prosecution is expected to wrap up its case tomorrow.

Yesterday, the jurors heard Malvo's taped confession to police. In it, the teen suspect admits he was the triggerman in all 13 of the D-C-area sniper shootings -- including the ten fatalities. His attorney insists he was trying to protect Muhammad.

Montgomery's top cop wants sniper defendants on trial in AlabamaNovember 18th

Montgomery Police Chief John Wilson says he remains optimistic that Monday's conviction of John Allen Muhammad could bring the case a step closer to Alabama.

Jurors in Virginia Beach, Virginia are deliberating the penalty phase to decide whether to recommend a death sentence or life in prison.

In Chesapeake, Virginia, the prosecution continues to present its case against co-defendant, 18-year-old Lee Malvo.

Wilson said he wants Muhammad and Malvo go on trial for the September 2002 shooting outside a state ABC store in Montgomery.
52-year-old Claudine Parker was killed and her co-worker, 25-year-old Kellie Adams was wounded.

Wilson also said he has no doubt that key forensic evidence gathered after the Montgomery shootings led to the arrests. Several Montgomery police officers testified at Muhammad's trial.

Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks is more cautious. She thinks it will take years before any final judgment is made on whether the two will be tried in an Alabama court

Muhammad's penalty phase trial resumes for dayNovember 18th

The prosecution takes center stage today in both sniper trials in separate Virginia courtrooms.

In Virginia Beach, prosecutors have begun presenting more witnesses in the penalty phase of the trial of John Muhammad.

The first two witnesses of the day testified about the murder of Kenya Cook in Washington state in 2002.

The prosecution is hoping to link Muhammad to that death. It's part of the prosecution's attempt to demonstrate that Muhammad's crimes were so vile and that he's such a threat to society that he should be sentenced to death.

Before jurors were in the courtroom this morning, the judge gave one victory to defense attorneys. They objected to a prosecution effort to show graphic video of the damage a bullet can cause. The judge agreed the illustration wasn't appropriate.

In nearby Chesapeake, the prosecution is trying to wrap up its presentation before the end of the week in the trial of 18-year-old
Lee Malvo.

Trials in sniper case resume after conviction of MuhammadNovember 18th

Both trials in the Washington-area sniper case resume today, and in one, the fight is no longer about John Muhammad's guilt, but his life.

Jurors in Virginia Beach, Virginia, face a stark choice -- whether to recommend Muhammad be sentenced to death or life in prison.

The prosecution is trying to prove that Muhammad poses such a danger and that his crimes are so vile that he deserves to be sentenced to death.

Defense attorneys plan to present witnesses who'll testify that Muhammad once had a meaningful life. Attorney Jonathan Shapiro
insists that it's not necessary to extinguish one more life.

In nearby Chesapeake, the prosecution will continue presenting its case against 18-year-old Lee Malvo. The defense expects to begin its case Friday.

Malvo told of Muhammad's convictionNovember 17th

A defense lawyer says sniper suspect Lee Malvo has been told of the conviction of John Muhammad.

Defense attorney Craig Cooley isn't commenting on his client's reaction.

Malvo is on trial in Chesapeake, Virginia, for the killing of FBI analyst Linda Franklin at a Home Depot in Falls Church.

In Virginia Beach, the jury will resume hearing evidence in the morning on whether the 42-year-old Muhammad should get the death penalty or life in prison. The penalty phase is expected to last several days.

Muhammad was found guilty of killing Dean Meyers, a Vietnam veteran who was cut down by a single bullet last year as he filled his tank at a Manassas, Virginia, gas station.

Malvo's attorneys are pursuing an insanity defense, arguing that the young man was "indoctrinated" by Muhammad.

Sniper conviction is first under new anti-terrorism lawNovember 17th

Virginia's new anti-terrorism law is almost certain to be tested on appeal, now that it's been used to convict sniper John Allen Muhammad.

The law makes a killing punishable by execution if the crime was intended to intimidate the public or influence the government.

Defense attorneys say that means any crime producing fear in a
community could be prosecuted as terrorism.

But prosecutors argued that Muhammad and alleged accomplice Lee
Boyd Malvo terrorized the public in order to extort ten million dollars from the government.

Virginia's attorney general says it's the only such law with a so-called "mastermind clause." That means orchestrating a murder can be a capital offense even if the defendant didn't do the actual killing.

Muhammad was convicted in the murder of Dean Meyers at a gas station.

Sniper victims' relatives satisfied with verdict, hope for executionNovember 17th

A woman whose sister was killed in a robbery officials link to sniper John Muhammad says she's "still looking for the death penalty."

Relatives of victims in the Washington-area sniper attacks held hands and some sobbed today as Muhammad's guilty verdict was read in a Virginia court.

He was convicted of two capital murder charges for killing a man at a Manassas gas station.

The sister of another victim says she "was elated" when she heard the verdict on her car radio.

One of the victims who survived a sniper shooting says he and others affected by the attacks "just need to finish off the story."

The Virginia Beach jury that convicted Muhammad must now decide on a death sentence or life in prison.

Jury deliberations under way in trial of sniper suspect MuhammadNovember 14th

Jurors in the sniper shootings trial of John Muhammad had a request for the judge. They wanted a tape recorder to listen to some of the evidence.

Judge LeRoy Millette agreed and tried to determine exactly what type of machine they needed. The prosecution also suggested the jurors might want to be supplied with a video cassette recorder.

Presumably, this would allow the jurors to hear some of the evidence -- such as tape recordings of nine-one-one calls. The prosecution contended that Muhammad's voice and that of his alleged accomplice Lee Malvo are on the recordings.

Both voices on the tapes could be heard discussing the sniper shootings and an attempt to extort money to prevent future attacks.

The request to the judge came after about three hours of deliberations. But the jurors gave no further indication of how they're proceeding.

Penalties vary if Muhammad is convictedNovember 14th

If sniper suspect John Muhammad is convicted, the penalties he could receive will vary.

A jury in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is considering his possible guilt on four charges, including two counts of murder.

Jurors could convict him of capital murder if they find he killed sniper victim Dean Meyers and at least one other person, or if they find that the killings were carried out in the course of terrorism.

If he's convicted on either of the most serious charges, jurors then would go into a penalty phase of the trial, as early as next Monday. Their recommendations would then go to the judge, who would make the final decision.

On both murder charges, the jury can decide between either a capital offense or first-degree murder. If they pick the more serious charge, the jurors later decide whether to recommend a sentence of life in prison or death. If jurors choose first-degree murder, they later would decide between 20 years or life in prison.

On a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, the jurors would decide whether to recommend one-to-ten years in prison.

The charge of committing a felony with a firearm carries a mandatory three-year prison term. This count does not require a penalty phase for the trial.

Jurors in Muhammad's trial could get case today, Malvo's trial under wayNovember 13th

Jurors in the trial of sniper suspect John Muhammad now are getting instructions from the judge.

Circuit Court Judge LeRoy Millette (mih-LET') wants to explain exactly how they should consider the murder and other charges against Muhammad.

This comes after a defeat for the defense. After prosecutors presented three rebuttal witnesses, Muhammad's attorney Peter Greenspun once again claimed the prosecution hadn't presented enough evidence for its case. But Millette disagreed.

Earlier, Millette told the jurors to prepare for possible deliberations today and tomorrow.

In nearby Chesapeake, the trial for Muhammad's alleged accomplice, Lee Malvo, is getting under way. The newly seated jury is set for opening statements from attorneys for both sides.

AP finds FBI documents raise questions about witness in DC sniper caseNovember 13th

FBI documents show that a government chemist who testified in the DC sniper case kept a sloppy office and has made numerous racially insensitive comments.

The records, obtained by The Associated Press, indicate that questions were raised about Edward Bender's impartiality more than a decade ago. Questions were also raised about possible evidence contamination in Bender's lab.

The prosecutor handling the trial of sniper suspect John Muhammad says he wasn't aware of the information before he put Bender on the stand. Prosecutors are required to provide defendants with all information affecting their case.

Bender testified in support of the prosecution last week that he found residue indicating that a gun was fired from a car trunk.

Opening statements in Malvo caseNovember 13th

The prosecutor in Lee Malvo's murder trial says the sniper suspect is a "smart, clever killer."

Opening statements are under way in the trial in Chesapeake, Virginia. Prosecutor Robert Horan told jurors they'll hear an audio tape made by police in which Malvo allegedly explains who he killed and how he did it.

He describes Malvo as "glib" and "articulate." He also says Malvo spoke about the killings in a casual tone of voice.

Horan also told jurors how Malvo and fellow suspect John Muhammad were arrested last year at a highway rest stop in Maryland after the three-week sniper shooting rampage in the Washington area. Horan described Muhammad as Malvo's "compatriot in crime."

He says police searched their car and found the rifle allegedly used in the sniper shootings. He also described how a notch had been cut in the trunk so that the weapon could be fired while the shooter was hidden.

Malvo pleads innocent to sniper shootingsNovember 10th

The younger of the two sniper suspects, Lee Malvo, has entered an innocent plea at the start of his trial in Virginia.

The 18-year-old is facing two counts at his trial in Chesapeake. The murder and terrorism charges are in connection with the death of FBI analyst Linda Franklin.

Malvo told the judge he's innocent of both charges. His defense attorneys then asked for a motion to dismiss the terrorism charge, but the judge refused.

Jury selection will now take place.

In neighboring Virginia Beach, the elder sniper suspect's trial continues. Prosecutors wrapped up their case today against John Muhammad. Due to tomorrow's Veteran's Day holiday, the defense will begin presenting its case on Wednesday.

Malvo's mother blames MuhammadNovember 10th

"He's evil."

That's how the mother of sniper suspect Lee Malvo describes fellow suspect John Muhammad.

In an interview shown this morning on A-B-C's "Good Morning America," Una James said she's convinced that Muhammad manipulated her son.

She says any guilt her son has in last year's sniper attacks is a result of what she calls "the serious influence this man had over this child."

Prosecutors tried to bring James from Jamaica to testify in Muhammad's trial -- but she refused to go unless she was allowed to meet with her son.

James told ABC that she is now willing to come to Virginia to testify in her son's defense, although there's no indication that defense attorneys will ask her to do so.

Malvo's trial gets under way today with jury selection. He's being tried for the shooting of Linda Franklin last fall outside a Home Depot store in Falls Church, Virginia.

Muhammad's trial continues in Virginia Beach.

Muhammad's trial resumes with new testimonyNovember 10th

Prosecutors are trying to show that last year's Washington-area sniper rampage was a form of terrorism.

Testimony resumed this morning in sniper suspect John Muhammad's
trial in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with testimony from the security chief for a Maryland school district.

Edward Clarke testified that during the attacks, the school system put into place a lockdown on all schools -- called "code blue." Clarke says it was the first time in the school system's history that such a step was taken.

He also says that at various times during the three-week rampage, some schools had an attendance of less than ten percent.

The testimony is aimed at bolstering the prosecution's claim that the sniper suspects engaged in a kind of terrorism. That's the basis for one of the capital murder charges against Muhammad.

Meantime, a trial has opened in nearby Chesapeake, Virginia for fellow suspect Lee Malvo in one of the deadly shootings. He pleaded innocent this morning.

Malvo's trial begins today, while Muhammad's continuesNovember 10th

The trials of the two sniper suspects will now overlap.

The trial for 18-year-old Lee Malvo begins today in Chesapeake, Virginia -- while in neighboring Virginia Beach, prosecutors hope to wrap up their case against 42-year-old John Muhammad.

The suspects are being tried for different killings -- Malvo in the death of FBI analyst Linda Franklin and Muhammad for the murder of Dean Meyers. Those are two victims in the sniper spree that left ten dead last year in the Washington DC area.

Both trials also contain a similar theme.

Malvo's lawyers plan to use an insanity defense -- claiming he was not responsible since he was "brainwashed" by Muhammad.
Prosecutors in Muhammad's trial argue he should be held responsible for the murders, even if he never pulled the trigger, since he exerted such control over Malvo.

Both sniper suspects, who are each charged with capital murder in an Alabama shooting, face the possibility of a death penalty if convicted.

Jury to get look at car in which Muhammad and Malvo were arrestedNovember 7th

Over the objections of the defense, jurors in sniper suspect John Muhammad's trial are taking a field trip.

The judge says the jury will be taken to a city jail in Virginia to see the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice in which Muhammad and fellow suspect Lee Malvo were arrested last year. Police believe the car was used in the Washington-area sniper shootings.

Jurors will be led through a prisoner corridor and into the part of the jail where the car is being stored.

Defense lawyers objected to showing the car to the jury, saying it needlessly duplicates a demonstration prosecutors made in court yesterday.

Jurors saw a tape showing how prosecutors believe the car's trunk served as a shooting platform. Prosecutors also wheeled the back end of a similar car into court to further make their case.

The defense says there's no evidence Muhammad fired from the trunk in any of the sniper shootings. But prosecutors have said Muhammad was the driving force behind the rampage.

Mother of teen-age sniper suspect refuses to testify in Muhammad's trialNovember 4th

The mother of teen-age sniper suspect Lee Malvo is refusing to testify in the murder trial of the other sniper suspect.

Una James tells a Jamaican television station she won't testify in John Muhammad's trial unless she's allowed to meet with her son.

James, who lives in Jamaica, was subpoenaed to testify in Muhammad's trial in Virginia. She was scheduled to fly to the US on Sunday but refused to board the plane because she hadn't received assurances she could see Malvo.

James did not say why she thought authorities would prevent her from seeing her 18-year-old son. But she did express concern about what might happen to her if she traveled without a lawyer to the United States, since she was deported in December 2002.

Testimony continues in sniper shootings trialOct. 30

The husband of a sniper shooting victim says he "felt something hitting" his face after hearing a loud noise last fall.

William Franklin testified in a Virginia court that what he felt was his wife Linda's blood splattering on him.

Franklin was calm as he told the Virginia Beach court of the waning moments of his wife's life. The testimony came in the continuing murder trial of sniper suspect John Muhammad.

The former Marine was so traumatized by the October 14th shooting in a Home Depot parking lot that his voice was high-pitched when he called 911.

On a tape of the call played in court today, Franklin -- breathing heavily -- tells the dispatcher his wife "was shot in the head."


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