The D.C. Sniper, Lee Boyd Malvo, and his lawyer are looking for a new hearing after a 2016 Supreme Court ruling on sentencing for juveniles.
The lawyer for Lee Boyd Malvo—the jailed sniper who killed 10 people, including a FBI employee, over 15 years ago in the Washington, D.C. region—is seeking a hearing to ask for a lighter sentence for his client.
Malvo received four life sentences in Virginia and another six in Maryland.
Back in 2002, Malvo was 17 years old. He terrorized the D.C. region with his mentor, John Allen Muhammad, 41, over a three-week period.
They shot at innocent people going about their business in public areas. In total, 10 people were killed, including FBI analyst Linda Franklin.
Muhammad was sentenced to death and executed in Virginia in 2009.
During Malvo’s trial, jurors had the option of picking the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Malvo eventually reached a deal with prosecutors: he agreed to plead guilty and receive life sentences. In exchange, prosecutors dropped some charges and removed the death penalty as a possible sentence.
Why Is Lee Boyd Malvo’s Lawyer Seeking a New Hearing?
Malvo was a minor at the time of the killings, but he was tried and sentenced as an adult and denied the possibility of parole.
In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. This ruling was made retroactive, potentially extending it to offenders like Lee Boyd Malvo.
On January 23, 2018, Malvo’s lawyer, Craig Cooley, urged an appeals court to uphold a ruling by a federal judge who last year ordered new sentencing hearings in Virginia under the Supreme Court ruling.
There is push-back against a new hearing because Malvo plead guilty to his crimes. Also, the Supreme Court ruling doesn’t apply to states like Virginia that don’t have mandatory life-without-parole sentences, according to Virginia’s deputy solicitor general.
Cooley defended Malvo by saying that his client agreed to “what is now an illegal sentence, an unconstitutional sentence.”
Cooley also noted that Malvo still faces life sentences in Maryland, where a judge has ruled that he will not get new sentencing hearings.
“In the end, it doesn’t mean that he’s walking out of prison,” Cooley said.
There is no word on when the appeals court will make its decision.