Federal judge tosses out life sentences for DC sniper Malvo

Posted May 27, 2017

A federal judge dismissed the four life sentences given to Lee Boyd Malvo for his role in the 2002 Virginia sniper shootings.

In January 2017, Richmond defense attorney Craig Cooley asked a judge to toss out the life sentence against Malvo, because the U.S. Supreme Court has since ruled it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole, without a sentencing hearing.

Judge Raymond Jackson based his ruling on a 2012 Supreme Court decision that found juveniles are constitutionally different from adults for the purposes of sentencing because juveniles have diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform. And in 2016, it said that holding applied retroactively to cases on appeal. Instead, the courts in Fairfax and Spotsylvania must resentence Malvo, on the new standards devised by the Supreme Court in 2012, and he could still receive life sentences again.

Malvo was convicted in one trial in Virginia and entered an Alford plea in another.

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The ruling does not apply to the six life sentences Malvo received in Maryland after he pleaded guilty to six murder charges there. His Maryland lawyers are appealing in both state and federal court on the same grounds, and a hearing is set for next month.

Malvo was 17 when he was arrested in 2002 for the shootings in D.C. Malvo was sentenced to life without parole along with John Allen Muhammad, then 42. If not, he said he would pursue another life sentence. The Virginia attorney general responded that Roush could have suspended some of Malvo's life term. Under Virginia law, a capital murder conviction requires either a death sentence or life without parole. Muhammad, 48, was executed in 2009. "I realised that once he goes back to his sense, he recognised that there is a God".

A man of deep faith, Meyers said he said he long ago forgave Malvo and Muhammad.

Malvo remains at the state's super-max Red Onion State Prison.