- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2003

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The daughter of a sniper victim yesterday glowered at convicted murderer Lee Boyd Malvo from the witness stand yesterday and called him “evil” and “insane.”

“Malvo, you are evil,” Myrtha Cinada, daughter of Pascal Charlot, 72, said during the sentencing phase of the sniper trial. “You are insane because you took my father’s life. He never got to see his grandchild. … That’s insane of you to do. You are evil.”

One day after Malvo had been convicted of murdering FBI analyst Linda Franklin, prosecutors presented witnesses who testified about the effect of their loved ones’ slayings on their lives. Mrs. Cinada, whose father was gunned down Oct. 3, 2002, on a D.C. street, was the only family member to confront the teenage sniper.

Wearing a Navy blue sweater and light-blue dress shirt, Malvo looked straight ahead and clasped his hands over his mouth — the same pose he had adopted during most of the 6-week-old trial. He maintained his distant demeanor even when prosecutors played an audio recording of the 911 call William Franklin made as his wife, Linda, lay mortally wounded in the parking lot of a Falls Church Home Depot last year.

“My wife is shot. She’s on the ground,” he said amid sobs and gasps. “She’s shot in the head.”

In the courtroom yesterday, Mr. Franklin buried his face in his hands and burst into tears as the recording played. Several jurors wiped away tears as they listened to the wrenching 911 call.

The jury of eight women and four men who will decide whether to sentence Malvo to death or life in prison heard from family members of six sniper victims. Nearly every juror, and many spectators in the packed courtroom, shed tears at some point during the two hours of victim-impact testimony.

Defense attorneys did not cross-examine any of the witnesses, and the prosecution rested its case by midday yesterday.

On Thursday, the jury convicted Malvo, 18, of two counts of capital murder for the Oct. 14, 2002, slaying of Mrs. Franklin, 47. One count was under Virginia’s new antiterrorism law, the other under a serial-killer law. He also was convicted of illegally using a firearm.

To return a death sentence, the jury must determine unanimously that the vileness of the crime or the defendant’s continuing threat to society qualify him for execution. Prosecutors yesterday presented evidence of an escape attempt Malvo made the day he was arrested, demonstrating that he could pose a future danger.

Katrina E. Hannum, Mrs. Franklin’s 25-year-old daughter, testified yesterday that the murder had torn her family apart, devastated her brother and left her tortured by recurring nightmares about her mother’s violent death.

“I can’t sleep because of the nightmares. Every night I see this man shoot my mom in the head,” Mrs. Hannum said as she pointed to Malvo.

She began to cry as she talked about how her mother never got to see her grandson, whom Mrs. Hannum delivered about four months after the murder. “Every day when I get up in the morning, I cry. Every night when I go to bed, I cry,” she said.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Thomas Walsh pleaded with jurors not to recommend a death sentence, asking them to remember the difficulties of Malvo’s childhood and blaming his client’s situation on Malvo’s accomplice.

“But for John Muhammad, [Malvo] wouldn’t be here,” Mr. Walsh told the jurors, who had rejected Malvo’s insanity defense a day earlier. “We ask you to spare his life.”

A Virginia Beach jury last month recommended that Muhammad, 42, be executed for the Oct. 9, 2002, slaying of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, at a Manassas gas station.

Defense witness Esmie McLeod, vice principal at a Jamaica high school once attended by Malvo, yesterday wept on the stand as she recalled the teenager’s constant uprooting.

“We saw because of what was happening in his life, we were certain it was coming to a terrible end,” Miss McLeod said. “It was just not fair to Lee.”

Winsom Maxwell, a teacher in Jamaica who briefly took Malvo into her home when he was 11, said she had mixed feelings about relinquishing Malvo to his mother. “I’m still thinking if I had just said no, Lee would not be where he is now,” she said.

Monday morning, the defense will resume its case in the sentencing phase of the Malvo sniper trial.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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