Federal judge tosses out life sentences for DC sniper Malvo

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A Federal judge ordered new sentencing hearings for Lee Boyd Malvo, who is serving life sentences for his role in the random murders of 10 people in the Washington Metro area in 2002.

US District Judge Raymond A. Jackson yesterday overturned those four sentences and ordered the courts that imposed them to consider new sentences.

The ruling cited both the Supreme Court decision in 2012 that found juvenile sentences of life without parole were unconstitutional and the 2016 decision that made the same judgement retroactive.

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The court concluded that while the convictions would stand, the life sentences would be tossed out, and Malvo would be resentenced. He was also convicted by a jury and sentenced to two life sentences in Fairfax County, it added.

Malvo appealed his sentence based on the 2012 Supreme Court decision in Miller v Alabama that ruled that imposing mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole on juveniles violates the Eight Amendment of the United States.

Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Malvo as well, for the slaying in Fairfax of Linda Franklin outside a Home Depot in the Falls Church area. The 25-page ruling states in part, "There is no evidence in the record to suggest that petitioner was aware of the existence of this right, much less that he meant to relinquish or abandon it" when he waived his rights by agreeing to be imprisoned for life without parole.

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Malvo said he met Muhammad in Antigua and took to the road with him.

Malvo was 17 when he was arrested, along with John Allen Muhammad, after a series of mysterious and terrifying shootings in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland that killed 10 people and wounded three. The Virginia attorney general responded that Roush could have suspended some of Malvo's life term. He executed for the killing in 2009. Investigators later said Muhammad meant to kill his ex-wife, who lived in the Washington area.

"I couldn't say no", he said in the interview. "I realised that once he goes back to his sense, he recognised that there is a God". Malvo's entire trial was essentially a sentencing hearing, as Cooley and Arif told a life story of abuse and neglect by his mother, and brainwashing by Muhammad.

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Malvo is now 32-years-old.

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