- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2006

Convicted sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad appeared in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville yesterday with a list of complaints, including charges that jailers have restricted his access to court documents in his trial for six Washington-area sniper shootings.

He also complained about disagreements with his attorneys over legal filings and that he had been denied long underwear to wear in court.

Muhammad also lost a pair of pretrial motions during yesterday’s hearing in advance of his scheduled May 1 trial. He was transferred to Montgomery County last summer from Virginia, where he has been sentenced to death.

Circuit Judge John Ryan granted a request from county prosecutors to present evidence of other shootings Muhammad and accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo are accused of carrying out before and during the three-week October 2002 shooting rampage in the Washington region.

Judge Ryan also blocked a request by Muhammad’s attorneys to hold separate trials for some of the six murders that occurred in Montgomery County, the first on Oct. 2 and the last on Oct. 22, 2002.

When the motion was first presented in court, Muhammad cut short his court-appointed attorney, saying he never agreed to filing the motion.

“I ask for that motion not to be put in,” he said before the motion was heard. “I disagree with it 100 percent, Your Honor.”

Throughout a legal process that began with his 2003 murder trial, conviction and death sentence in Virginia, Muhammad has actively inserted himself into his defense.

Shortly before his first trial began, he briefly dismissed his attorneys and handled his own case, making an opening statement and questioning some witnesses. He eventually allowed his attorneys to return.

In court yesterday, Montgomery corrections officials testified that Muhammad has seven boxes of legal documents that he brought with him from Virginia.

He worked out an agreement with his jailers that gives him access to the material, but he complained that prison officials only give him limited records at a time. He said he needed to review much of it at the same time.

“I asked for access to all the material,” he said. “All of the quote-unquote crimes that I committed occurred together.”

Robert Green, warden of the Montgomery County jail, testified that Muhammad has adequate access to his records. Judge Ryan agreed after hearing both arguments.

Prosecutors say Muhammad and Malvo tried to extort $10 million from local governments during their spree. In all, they are accused of killing 10 persons and wounding three in Maryland, Virginia and the District in October 2002. They have been linked to earlier killings in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Washington state.

Malvo was also convicted in Virginia and sentenced to life in prison. He is scheduled to go on trial in Montgomery County in the fall for the six murders.

Malvo is not eligible for a death sentence because he was 17 when the murders occurred, and prosecutors said last week that they will not seek a death sentence for Muhammad in Maryland.

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