- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2003

Police in Prince William and Fairfax counties are asking for additional funds to help pay for expenses that both counties will incur during the sniper suspects’ trials this fall.

Authorities in Prince William County want another $1 million to pay for the county’s prosecution of suspect John Allen Muhammad. Fairfax County police also want more money for the trial of fellow suspect Lee Boyd Malvo. But a county police source could not say how much the department was seeking.

The request for extra money comes as the U.S. Department of Justice recently approved two $200,000 grants that prosecutors in both counties will use to pay for expenses.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, arranged for the Justice Department to issue the grants, according to Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert. On July 7, the Justice Department issued to prosecutors an “invitation to apply” for the money. Mr. Ebert said yesterday the grants had been approved.

Both sniper trials were moved 200 miles to southeastern Virginia. Mr. Muhammad’s Oct. 14 trial was moved from Prince William to Virginia Beach. Mr. Malvo’s Nov. 10 trial was moved from Fairfax to Chesapeake, a city about five miles east of Virginia Beach.

Fairfax County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said yesterday it will cost the county about $1 million to provide transportation and lodging for more than 200 witnesses in the case, along with other costs caused by the change of venue.

“There’s no end to the kind of things we’re going to have to pay for,” Chief Manger said. “This $200,000 is going to go pretty darn quick.”

Security at Mr. Malvo’s trial will be handled primarily by Chesapeake authorities, Chief Manger said.

Mr. Malvo’s attorneys said yesterday that if the federal government is going to help pay for their client’s prosecution, it should also help pay for his defense.

“This makes it extremely clear that our client is being prosecuted by the federal government and the state government,” said Craig S. Cooley, one of Mr. Malvo’s attorneys. “He should be entitled to some funding of his defense.”

Mr. Malvo’s attorneys have already asked the federal government to help pay for the defense. On July 21, they asked Fairfax County Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush to order prosecutors to divulge an accounting of all their expenditures, to determine whether prosecutors were receiving federal aid.

At that time, Mr. Malvo’s attorneys didn’t know for sure whether Fairfax County prosecutors were receiving federal funds. They had only heard that Prince William prosecutors were seeking money from federal coffers.

“There has to be some fundamental fairness,” Mr. Cooley said yesterday after hearing of the $200,000 grants. “If you’re going to give large sums of money to a prosecutor to achieve a death penalty for a juvenile, the same money should be given for his defense.”

Mr. Malvo, 18, and Mr. Muhammad, 42, have been linked to last October’s string of random shootings that left 10 persons dead and three others injured in the Washington area. Both suspects could face the death penalty if convicted.

Mr. Malvo is being tried for the Oct. 14 shooting of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47, outside a Home Depot in Falls Church. Mr. Muhammad is being tried for the Oct. 9 shooting death of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, at a gas station in Manassas.

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