- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2002

Attorney General John Ashcroft, having already dropped federal charges against the two sniper suspects, yesterday announced that both will first be tried in Virginia. John Allen Muhammad will be tried in Prince William County, and John Lee Malvo will be tried in Fairfax County. "We believe the first prosecutions should occur in those jurisdictions that provide the best law, the best facts and best range of penalties," Mr. Ashcroft said, adding, "It's appropriate that the ultimate sanction be available." We concur.

Virginia is much more likely to mete out the ultimate punishment than neighboring Maryland, which has both a moratorium on capital punishment and a prohibition against the execution of murderers less than 18 years of age. In Virginia, Fairfax and Prince William prosecutors suffer no such impediments. So, thanks to the actions taken late yesterday by Mr. Ashcroft, justice will be swift and appropriate.

The families of the victims will not have to endure the add-on tragedy of knowing that the persons responsible for the wanton killings continue to live at their and other taxpayers' expense playing cards, receiving free medical care and working out, perhaps hoping for eventual release a decade or two from now.

On Wednesday, Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan filed formal charges of capital murder as well as firearms charges in the death of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47. She was shot to death in the parking lot of a Home Depot store in Falls Church.

No stranger to high-profile cases, Mr. Horan prosecuted Mir Amal Kasi, who is scheduled to be executed next week by the state of Virginia. Kasi went on a shooting spree outside CIA headquarters almost a decade ago that resulted in the deaths of two persons and injuries to three others. Kasi's multiple appeals on procedural and technical grounds were dismissed at the appellate court level and, ultimately, by the Supreme Court.

The wheels of justice turned in the right direction with this week's decisions by Mr. Horan and Mr. Ashcroft.

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