Federal judge tosses out life sentences for DC sniper Malvo

Federal judge tosses out life sentences for DC sniper Malvo

A federal judge has tossed four life sentences handed to Lee Boyd Malvo for his role in the Beltway sniper killings in 2002.

Now, Malvo's case has been remanded back to Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to issue a new sentence.

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.

Malvo was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the sniper-style attacks committed around the region in October 2002 along with John Allen Muhammad.

The ruling does not apply to the six life sentences Malvo received in Maryland after he pleaded guilty to six murder charges there.

Muhammad was executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia on November 10, 2009. A jury convicted Malvo of capital murder for the slaying of Federal Bureau of Investigation analyst Linda Franklin, who was shot in the head outside a Home Depot store. 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. Under Virginia law, a capital murder conviction requires either a death sentence or life without parole. But a jury in Chesapeake, where the trial was moved because of pretrial publicity, chose a life sentence for Malvo, and Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jane Marum Roush imposed that sentence in March 2004. The state argued that the jury's findings provide the kind of individualized assessment that the Supreme Court requires to sentence a juvenile to life in prison.

Jackson based his decision on two U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

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

Malvo, now 32 years old, is currently being held at Red Onion State Prison, a super-maximum security prison in Virginia.

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