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Lee Boyd Malvo
Background information
Also known as: John Lee Malvo, Malik Malvo
Born: February 18, 1985 (1985-02-18) (age 25)
Kingston, Jamaica
Span of killings: September 5, 2002 – October 23, 2002
Country: United States
State(s): Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia
Date apprehended: October 24, 2002

Lee Boyd Malvo (also known as John Lee Malvo ) (born February 18, 1985), is a Jamaican national convicted, along with John Allen Muhammad, of mass murder in connection with the Beltway sniper attacks, which took place in the Washington Metropolitan Area over a three-week period in October 2002. According to his own confession they had planned to kill 6 people a day for a month in order "to terrorize the nation".[1] The beltway attacks turned out to be only the last of a series of shootings across the United States which began on the West Coast. Muhammad had befriended the juvenile Malvo, and had enlisted him in the murderous rampage under some false pretenses and influences which are still not fully understood by authorities.[citation needed] According to Craig Cooley, one of Malvo's defense attorneys, Malvo believed Muhammad when he told him that the $10 million ransom sought from the US government to stop the sniper killings would be used to establish a Utopian society for 140 black homeless children on a Canadian compound.[2]

Contents

Joining John Allen Muhammad

Lee Boyd Malvo and his mother, Una Sceon James, first met John Allen Muhammad in Antigua and Barbuda around 1999, where Una and Muhammad developed a strong friendship. Later, Una left Antigua for Fort Myers, Florida, using false documents. She left her son with Muhammad, reportedly planning to have him follow her later. He did join his mother for a short time in 2001. Lee Malvo arrived as an illegal alien in Miami in 2001.[3] He and his mother were apprehended by the Border Patrol in Bellingham, Washington, in December 2001. In January 2002, Malvo was released on a $1,500 bond.[3] Malvo caught up with Muhammad soon after. In 2002, Malvo traveled to Bellingham, Washington, where he lived in a homeless shelter with Muhammad and enrolled in high school with Muhammad falsely listed as his father, but he did not make any friends.[citation needed] While in the Tacoma, Washington area, according to his statements to investigators, Malvo shoplifted the Bushmaster XM-15 from Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, a dealer for Bushmaster Firearms, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor based in Windham, Maine. About the same time, Muhammad practiced his marksmanship on the Bull's Eye firing range adjacent to the gun shop. Under federal laws, neither was legally allowed to purchase or possess guns, with both classified as prohibited persons under the Gun Control Act of 1968.[4]

Sniper attack victims

These are the victims who were murdered or wounded in the attacks. This list is in chronological order.

John C. Gaeta 51 Living August 1, 2002 at 9:04 PM Hammond, Louisiana
James Martin 55 Deceased October 2, 2002 at 6:04 PM Wheaton, Maryland
James Buchanan 39 Deceased October 3, 2002 at 7:41 AM Rockville, Maryland
Premkumar Walekar 54 Deceased October 3, 2002 at 8:12 AM Aspen Hill, Maryland
Sarah Ramos 34 Deceased October 3, 2002 at 8:37 AM Silver Spring, Maryland
Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera 25 Deceased October 3, 2002 at 9:58 AM Kensington, Maryland
Pascal Charlot 72 Deceased October 3, 2002 at 9:20 PM Washington, D.C.
Caroline Seawell 43 Living October 4, 2002 at 2:30 PM Spotsylvania, Virginia
Iran Brown 13 Living October 7, 2002 at 8:09 AM Bowie, Maryland
Dean Harold Meyers 53 Deceased October 9, 2002 at 8:18 PM Manassas, Virginia
Kenneth Bridges 53 Deceased October 11, 2002 at 9:40 AM Fredericksburg, Virginia
Linda Franklin 47 Deceased October 14, 2002 at 9:19 PM Falls Church, Virginia
Jeffrey Hopper 37 Living October 19, 2002 at 8:00 PM Ashland, Virginia
Conrad Johnson 35 Deceased October 22, 2002 at 5:55 AM Aspen Hill, Maryland

Criminal prosecutions

Malvo was initially arrested under federal charges, but they were dropped. He was transferred to Virginia custody and sent to jail in Fairfax County. He was charged by the Commonwealth of Virginia for two capital crimes: the murder of FBI analyst Linda Franklin "in the commission of an act of terrorism" (an addendum to Virginia law that was added after the September 11, 2001, attacks), and the murder of more than one person in a three-year period. He was also charged with the unlawful use of a firearm in the murder of Franklin. Initially, a Fairfax attorney, Michael Arif, was appointed to represent him, along with Thomas B. Walsh and Mark J. Petrovich. Later, prominent Richmond attorney Craig Cooley was appointed to the team and assumed a leadership role.[5] While in jail, he made a recorded confession to Detective Samuel Walker in which he stated that he "intended to kill them all".[6]

Under a change of venue, the trial was moved over 150 miles away to the city of Chesapeake in southeastern Virginia. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all charges on the grounds that he was under Muhammad's complete control. One of Malvo's psychiatric witnesses testified that Muhammad, a member of Nation of Islam, had indoctrinated him into believing that the proceeds of the extortion attempt would be used to begin a new nation of only pure black young persons somewhere in Canada.[citation needed] On December 18, 2003, after nearly 14 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted him of both charges. On December 23, a jury recommended a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Franklin. On March 10, 2004, a judge formally sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

On October 26, 2004, under a plea bargain to avoid a possible death penalty, Malvo entered an Alford plea to the charges of murdering Kenneth Bridges and attempting to murder Caroline Seawell while Malvo was in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. He also pled guilty to two firearms charges and agreed not to appeal his conviction for the murder of Franklin. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder, plus eight years imprisonment for the weapons charges.

One Virginia prosecutor in Prince William County had stated he would wait to decide whether to try him on additional capital charges in his jurisdiction until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on whether juveniles may be subject to the penalty of execution. However, in light of the March 1, 2005 Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons that the Eighth Amendment prohibits execution for crimes committed when under the age of 18, the prosecutors in Prince William County have decided not to pursue the charges against Malvo. However, prosecutors in Maryland, Louisiana and Alabama were still interested in putting both Malvo and Muhammad on trial.[citation needed]

As Malvo was 17 when he committed the crimes, he cannot face the death penalty, but still may be extradited to Alabama, Louisiana, and other states for prosecution. At the outset of the Beltway sniper prosecutions, the primary reason for extraditing the two suspects from Maryland, where they were arrested, to Virginia, was the differences in how the two states deal with the death penalty. While the death penalty is allowed in Maryland, it is only applied to persons who were adults at the time of their crimes, whereas Virginia had also allowed the death penalty for offenders who had been juveniles when their crimes were committed.[citation needed] In May 2005, Virginia and Maryland reached an agreement to allow Maryland to begin prosecuting some of the pending charges there, and Malvo was extradited to Montgomery County, Maryland under heavy security.

On June 16, 2006, Malvo told authorities that he and Muhammad were guilty of four additional shootings. The four most recently linked victims were also shot in 2002: a man killed in Los Angeles during a robbery in February or March; a 76-year-old man who survived a shooting on May 18 at a golf course in Clearwater, Florida; a man shot to death while doing yard work in Denton, Texas, May 27; and 54-year-old John Gaeta[7] who survived being shot on August 1 during a robbery outside a shopping mall near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[8]

On October 10, 2006, Malvo pleaded guilty to the six murders he was charged with in Maryland. On November 8, he was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. On October 27, 2006, Malvo told police that he and Muhammad were responsible for the killing of a 60-year-old man on a golf course in Tucson, Arizona. He claimed that they shot Jerry Taylor while he was practicing chip shots on a local golf course. Tucson police had reportedly sought to speak with Malvo about the March 19, 2002 death of Taylor, who died from a single long range gunshot.[citation needed]

Civil lawsuit

In 2003, Malvo and Muhammad were named in a major civil lawsuit by the Legal Action Project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence on behalf of some two of their victims who were seriously wounded and the families of some of those murdered. Although Malvo and Muhammad were both believed to be indigent and therefore judgment-proof, co-defendants Bull's Eye Shooter Supply and Bushmaster Firearms contributed to a landmark $2.5 million out-of-court settlement in late 2004.

The "real plan," as told by Lee Boyd Malvo

In Muhammad's May 2006 trial in Montgomery County, Maryland, Malvo took the stand and confessed to a more detailed version of the pair's plans. Malvo, after extensive counseling, admitted that he was lying in the statement he made after his arrest when he had admitted to being the triggerman for every shooting. Malvo claimed that he had said this in order to protect Muhammad from the death penalty, because it was more difficult to achieve the death penalty for a minor. Malvo stated, "I'm not proud of myself. I'm just trying to make amends", expressing his regret in the shootings.[9] In his two days of testimony, Malvo outlined detailed aspects of all the shootings.

Part of his testimony concerned Muhammad's complete, multiphase plan. His plan consisted of three phases in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas. Phase One consisted of meticulously planning, mapping, and practicing their locations around the DC area. This way after each shooting they would be able to quickly leave the area on a predetermined path, and move on to the next location. Muhammad's goal in Phase One was to kill six white people a day for 30 days. Malvo went on to describe how Phase One did not go as planned due to heavy traffic and the lack of a clear shot and/or getaway at different locations.[citation needed]

Phase Two was meant to be moved up to Baltimore. Malvo described how this phase was close to being implemented, but never was carried out. Phase Two was intended to begin by killing a pregnant woman by shooting her in the stomach. The next step would have been to shoot and kill a Baltimore police officer. At the officer's funeral, there were to be created several improvised explosive devices. These explosives were intended to kill a large number of police, since many police would attend another officer's funeral.[citation needed]

The last phase was to take place very shortly after, if not during, Phase Two. The third phase was to extort several million dollars from the U.S. government. This money would be used to finance a larger plan: to travel north into Canada and recruit other effectively orphaned boys to use weapons and stealth, and send them out to commit shootings across the country.[10][11][12][13]

Post-sentencing

As of 2010 Lee Boyd Malvo, Virginia Department of Corrections # 1180834, Inmate # 330873, is incarcerated at the Red Onion State Prison.[14]

  • On October 2, 2007, Malvo called a daughter of one of the victims, Cheryll Witz, to apologize for his role.[15]
  • Malvo reportedly sent a letter, dated February 21, 2010, to apologize to John C. Gaeta for shooting him. Malvo wrote: "I am truly sorry for the pain I caused you and your loved ones. I was relieved to hear that you suffered no paralyzing injuries and that you are alive."[16]

References

External links

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