He has described himself as a “monster” and confessed to his crimes. Lee Boyd Malvo was 17 years old when he and an accomplice carried out a deadly three-week shooting spree that terrorized the Washington area in 2002.
Malvo was sentenced to life in prison without parole and the Supreme Court is to hear arguments on Wednesday on whether such a sentence can be meted out to a juvenile.
The nation’s top court is hearing the case after a court in Virginia ruled that Malvo deserved another sentencing hearing because his age at the time was not taken into account.
Virginia’s attorney general appealed the ruling and the Supreme Court will be deciding whether its 2012 and 2016 rulings that mandatory life sentences for minors are unconstitutional applies retroactively to Malvo’s case.
The series of sniper shootings paralyzed the Washington area. Ten people were killed and three wounded in Virginia, Maryland and the US capital.
Malvo, who was 17 when he was arrested, was given a total of 10 sentences of life in prison without parole in Maryland and Virginia.
Malvo’s partner in the shooting spree, John Allen Muhammad, was executed in 2009.
During the October 2-22, 2002 shooting spree, Muhammad, a 41-year-old US Army veteran and skilled marksman, and Malvo picked off random victims with a high-powered sniper rifle.
The killings terrified an area still living in dread of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and deadly anthrax mailings a year earlier.
People would squat down by their cars as they pumped gas, run from their vehicles into work, or just stay home.
Malvo and Muhammad, who was a father-like figure to the teenager, were apprehended after an exhaustive manhunt by federal and local police.
Muhammad’s motive was unclear, although one of his ex-wives alleged he intended to shoot her and reclaim custody of their three children.
Malvo, in a 2012 interview with The Washington Post, said “I was a monster.”
“If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is,” he said. “I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so.”
– ‘Prison with no hope’-
Malvo’s lawyers acknowledge that whatever the nine-member Supreme Court rules, he is unlikely to be freed anytime soon.
Nevertheless, the court hearing has resurfaced strong emotions surrounding the case.
The Trump administration has argued that the court should not provide an “escape hatch” that would allow Malvo to avoid stiff punishment for his “heinous crimes.”
In a brief, the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center said “liberty and justice for all does not allow the consideration of only the interests of criminal defendants.
“They demand that victims’ interests be fully considered.”
At least one of Malvo’s victims, Paul LaRuffa, who was shot five times, supports revisiting his sentencing.
“After my experience, I was of the opinion that the life without parole sentence for Malvo was absolutely justified using the argument that, at 17 years old, he knew the difference between right and wrong,” LaRuffa told AFP.
“Since that time, I have learned more about juvenile brain development, psychological development, as well as many successful juvenile rehabilitation stories.
“It was easy for me, after my experience, to have the, ‘Put him in jail and throw away the key,’ opinion, but my view has changed, not necessarily concerning Malvo in particular, but the many other youthful offenders convicted and sentenced to life without parole.
“I feel that there is a better answer in our justice system than dooming juveniles to a life of 40, 50 or 60 plus years in prison with no hope.”
© 2019 AFP
John Oliver explains how the Ukraine scandal so stupid even Fox News ‘idiot’ Steve Doocy should understand it
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver closed out his season with a special report for Fox News hosts who seem to be struggling with the basic understanding of things like "bribery" or the concept that attempted crimes are still actually crimes.
At the top of Sunday's show, Oliver played a clip of Fox News host Laura Ingraham who made the argument that if Trump tried to commit a crime and didn't manage to pull it off, then he's clearly innocent.
"Attempted bribery isn't in the constitution," proclaimed Ingraham, forgetting about what "high crimes and misdemeanors" covers. "Remember, Ukraine got its aid, it was 14 days delayed, big deal. And Ukraine never made any public statement about the investigation."
This is the energy executive who first exposed Trump’s Ukraine scandal: report
CNN host Chris Cuomo did a special investigative report by Drew Griffin looking at the money trail from Russia to President Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal.
"You probably don’t know Dale Perry, but history may record this energy executive as one of the first who sounded the alarm about what would become President Trump’s impeachment inquiry," said Griffin. "In April, Perry’s former business partner Andrew Favorov, now a director at Ukraine's state-owned gas company Naftogaz, says two shady characters had approached him, with a secret management plan to take over the management from the inside. Those two shady characters Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are two low-level, Soviet-born businessmen from south Florida. And they were trying to clear the way for their own gas business."
‘A slam-dunk-case’: MSNBC analysts predict GOP will defend Trump — and ‘the guy is going to get off’
More evidence was outed Sunday as the Wall Street Journal revealed emails from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who promised to keep the White House abreast of President Donald Trump's demand for an investigation by Ukraine. The news prompted an MSNBC panelists to explain that it wouldn't matter how much evidence was presented, Republicans will never vote to remove Trump.
Host Geoff Bennett asked about the witness testimony and preponderance of evidence that "all points in one direction at this point, that President Trump orchestrated this entire" Ukraine investigations.
"It's a slam dunk case, and yet we know the guy is going to get off," said Los Angels Times White House reporter Eli Stokols. "That's effectively what you're saying. Because all the testimony has lined up so closely, the fact that [EU Ambassador Gordon] Sondland has come to come in, and because testimony from [Ambassador Bill] Taylor and others, has had to change testimony, Republicans have no choice -- the president has no choice but to try to dismiss the entire thing as partisan."