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Jury spares Malvo's life in Washington sniper case

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posted on Dec, 23 2003 @ 03:26 PM

CHESAPEAKE, Virginia (CNN) -- A Virginia jury spared Lee Boyd Malvo from the death penalty Tuesday in the Washington sniper case after his lawyers argued that he was an impressionable teenager who had fallen under the malevolent influence of John Allen Muhammad.

Malvo will instead be locked away for the rest of his life.

The jury spared Malvo's life, in recommending a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Another Virginia jury had already recommended a death sentence for the first man convicted in last year's Washington-area sniper attacks, John Muhammad.

Jurors weighed whether to recommend sentencing Malvo to death or to life in prison without a chance of parole. Judge Jane Marum Roush set a March 10 hearing date to affirm the jury's recommendation.

Jurors began deliberating on a sentence recommendation Monday.

The deliberations began after prosecutors on Monday urged jurors to opt for a death sentence for Malvo, saying he has failed to show "an ounce of remorse" for the "outrageous" October 2002 killing spree.

Earlier this week, defense attorneys pleaded for the eight-woman, four-man jury to have mercy on their client, who was 17 during last year's sniper attacks.

Malvo was found guilty last week of terrorism, capital murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the killing of FBI analyst Linda Franklin on October 14, 2002, during a three-week series of sniper attacks in the Washington area that killed 10 people and wounded three. (Full story)

During closing arguments of the penalty phase, Malvo's lawyers argued that he was brainwashed by convicted accomplice John Allen Muhammad.

"Lee was uniquely susceptible to becoming attached to a father figure and the charismatic personage of John Muhammad," defense attorney Craig Cooley said.

Prosecutor James Horan, however, contrasted excerpts from Malvo's statement to police after his arrest with crime-scene photos of his victims, disputing defense contentions that the teenager had felt remorse for the killings.

"Is the behavior of this defendant so outrageous that the penalty of death is called for? Is the behavior so outrageous?" Horan asked. "We submit, based on the evidence that is already before you, that the penalty of death is the appropriate verdict at this stage."

Horan played Malvo's taped confession which he mimicked the sound of sniper victim James "Sonny" Buchanan's lawn mover and admitting he killed Pascal Charlot, a 72-year-old Washington man shot while crossing a street. He noted that shortly before his murder, Buchanan had spent hours on a porch, rocking in a chair while talking to his mother.

"That mother now sits in one of those rocking chairs waiting for a son who will never come home," he said. "That's vileness -- the uncaring attitude not only of those you killed but what you took away from others."

Muhammad, 42, who was found guilty last month in the sniper killings and faces a February sentencing date after a jury decided he should be executed. (Full story)

Defense attorneys say Malvo was separated from his father as a young child and attended 10 schools as he was uprooted repeatedly by his mother during their life in the Caribbean islands, leaving him vulnerable to Muhammad's influence.

Cooley said friends all described Muhammad as "a pied piper for children."

In rebuttal to prosecutors, Malvo's attorneys called on the jury to reject "the voices of vengeance and retribution.

" We are about to entrust the life of this child to you," defense attorney Cooley said. "In a very real sense, you are the last in a very long line of caretakers. Exercise your compassion."

Earlier Monday, Malvo's father, Leslie Malvo, described how his son wanted to be a pilot and loved to wear an aviator's jacket his father bought for him. But Judge Roush urged defense lawyers to limit his testimony, since he had already taken the stand once during the five-week trial.

"The two of us would watch the planes coming down," he said in a report from The Associated Press. "Lee loved it very much."

Roush also refused to allow into evidence a letter Malvo's lawyers said was evidence of their client's remorse for the killings. His lawyers said the letter was written in May to Carmeta Albarus, who was hired to investigate Malvo's background.

"It was significant because in the 14 years I've done this and the 300 cases I've worked nationwide, I've never received a letter like that," Albarus said.

But Horan said the letter gives "no indication of remorse," and Roush ruled it inadmissible.

Albarus testified Monday that Malvo became emotional when she told him that she visited Maryland during October's sniper killings and could have been among the victims. She said she "did for Lee what I called the gas station jig" -- moving back and forth so as to avoid being shot.

"He looked up to me, and the realization hit him and the eyes again welled up with tears, and he just looked down and he was silent for a pretty long time," Albarus said.

CNN Correspondent Elaine Quijano and Producer Mike Ahlers contributed to this report.

Glad they didn't sentence him to death. True justice has prevailed.
We shouldn't sentence teenagers to death, and yes thatís my opinion

posted on Dec, 23 2003 @ 04:02 PM
Being that I was a teenager relatively in the not to far past(6 years
) I fully wish we would use the death penalty in this case. I believe teenagers are completely aware of the choices they make. I respect your opinion though as well DD.

posted on Dec, 23 2003 @ 04:09 PM
This was a good decison by the jury. He was under the influence of Muhammad. I saw a report where he drew pictures of him and Muhammad together with captions like "worlds greatest dad" seems kinda juvenile. I couldn't see them finding him not guilty...but i could most definately see life in prison over a death sentence. Doesn't he have to face another trial too? I know John Muhammad has another one. He may not be completely off the hook yet.

posted on Dec, 24 2003 @ 11:06 AM

Influence or no influence, any sane person (teenagers included), knows you don't go around plugging people....


[Edited on 24-12-2003 by Gazrok]

posted on Dec, 24 2003 @ 11:13 AM

Originally posted by Gazrok

Influence or no influence, any sane person (teenagers included), knows you don't go around plugging people....


[Edited on 24-12-2003 by Gazrok]

I believe this punishment is way worse than a soft pin prick then a comfortable sleep.

He will spend the rest of his life in jail wondering whose son, brother, father or husband is gonna shank his azz.

I'm sure those big shower studs will love his virgin azz.
I hope he gets azz raped fairly regularly till the stiches just don't work anymore.
I don't see them keeping him by himself his whole life.
Someone will get him, just like Damlher.

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