- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Attorneys for sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo won a judge’s approval yesterday for $35,000 for 200 hours of additional mental health counseling.

Mr. Malvo’s attorney, Craig S. Cooley, said the defense team needs the extra hours because of “transformation” in the case that has resulted in “re-evaluation.”

He declined to explain the statement, but said later the word transformation applied to Mr. Malvo.

Mr. Malvo’s attorneys are planning a defense strategy that claims their client was brainwashed by John Allen Muhammad, the other suspect in the killings, who has been described as a father figure to Mr. Malvo.

Mr. Cooley said his client was brainwashed by Mr. Muhammad after guards at the prison where Mr. Malvo was taken after his Oct. 24 arrest testified that Mr. Malvo boasted of committing the sniper shootings. Mr. Malvo has already received 100 hours of mental health evaluation.

Mr. Cooley also told The Washington Times in July that the effects of the brainwashing would lessen over time.

“This kid was under his influence for 2 years,” he said. “It wasn’t a situation that was going to immediately go away.”

The defense attorneys have also said that a mental health expert was probing the relationship between Mr. Malvo and Mr. Muhammad.

Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan objected to the defense request for the additional counseling.

“What is this doctor doing?” Mr. Horan asked. “His work is not to help prepare the defense. His work is to tell them what they need to defend him. It seems like a lot of non-doctor work.”

However, Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jane Maroum Roush agreed to let Dr. Dewey Cornell, of Charlottesville, examine Mr. Malvo for $175 an hour, despite calling the case “one of the most expensive defenses in history.”

Judge Roush also approved $61,490 for defense attorneys to transport, lodge and feed witnesses.

One issue not settled during yesterday’s proceedings was whether the court would admit 23 video testimonials of character witnesses from Mr. Malvo’s childhood in Antigua and Jamaica.

Mr. Horan said the tapes were hard to understand and gave no context, especially when interviewing Mr. Malvo’s former elementary school teachers.

“I’ve got a duty to a lot of dead people here to see that there’s a fair trial,” Mr. Horan told Judge Roush. “A lot of these tapes will not make for a fair trial … they may save the taxpayers money, but they will sure confuse the jury, and I’m not going to be a part of that.”

Mr. Cooley said the tapes eliminate spending tax money for flying the witnesses to the United States to speak briefly.

If Mr. Horan does not agree to allow the tapes, the witnesses will be flown in.

Mr. Malvo and Mr. Muhammad have been linked to 13 sniper shootings in the Washington area last fall that killed 10 persons and wounded three.

Mr. Malvo, 18, has been charged with the Oct. 14 slaying of Linda Franklin, 47, in Falls Church. The Nov. 10 trial has been moved to Chesapeake. Mr. Cooley said yesterday he expects the trial to last 45 days.

Mr. Muhammad is charged with the Oct. 9 shooting of Dean H. Meyers, 53, outside a Manassas gas station. The Oct. 14 trial has been moved from Prince William County to Virginia Beach and is expected to last four to six weeks.

Early in yesterday’s hearing, before Judge Roush granted the defense money for extra hours with a mental health expert, Mr. Cooley complained about the defense team’s lack of resources and what he said was the stinginess of the Virginia legal system.

Mr. Cooley told Judge Roush that “Virginia is the least generous of the 50 states and way less generous than the federal government.” He made the statement while asking for a public accounting of the prosecution’s expenditures.

The judge denied the defense team’s request to see how much money the U.S. Justice Department gave Fairfax prosecutors. They wanted the information so they also could ask the federal government for money.

“I do think I’ve approved every reasonable expense in this case,” Judge Roush said. “I don’t think you’re entitled to the commonwealth’s accounting.”

The Justice Department has already given $200,000 grants to prosecutors in each case, and Fairfax and Prince William police want more money from the federal government. Each case will cost more than $1 million.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide