- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2003

A Fairfax County judge yesterday granted attorneys for sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo $63,000 to compensate investigators for substantially more time than initially allocated.

Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush allowed an additional 300 hours for each of three investigators, who bill Fairfax County $70 an hour plus expenses. The judge previously had granted Mr. Malvo’s attorneys, Michael S. Arif and Craig S. Cooley, 600 hours total, also at $70 per hour.

Mr. Malvo faces capital murder charges in the Oct. 14 shooting of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47, at a Home Depot store in Falls Church. The other sniper suspect, John Allen Muhammad, 42, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the Oct. 9 shooting of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, at a Manassas gas station. Mr. Muhammad is being tried in Prince William County.

There were 13 sniper shootings in the Washington area last October, 10 of them fatal. Mr. Malvo and Mr. Muhammad have been linked to at least five other shootings before that, four of them fatal, in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Arizona.

Yesterday, Mr. Arif argued at a court hearing that the additional time was necessary for his three investigators to interview witnesses in Jamaica, Antigua, Washington state, and Baton Rouge, La. — all locations linked to the sniper case.

Mr. Malvo and Mr. Muhammad reportedly met in Antigua, a Caribbean island little more than twice the size of the District, in December 2000. Mr. Malvo spent part of his childhood in Jamaica, and Mr. Muhammad lived for a time in Bellingham, Wash., where investigators believe he may have trained Mr. Malvo in rifle shooting.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. argued against the additional time for the defense, saying it was a waste of taxpayer money. Mr. Horan also argued that the defense has all the evidence it needs to proceed with the case.

“They have more crime scene photos than any lawyer had in any case. They can look at those to their hearts’ content. What these investigators are supposedly going to do I have no idea,” Mr. Horan said.

Mr. Horan argued that defense investigators did not need to go to Baton Rouge, since authorities there traveled to Virginia this week to share the evidence they had. “It’s running the meter at the cost of the taxpayers,” Mr. Horan said of the defense request.

Judge Roush cautioned Mr. Arif against the spending. “I don’t want them billing like lawyers. … You are exhausting, if not the patience of the court, the pocket of the court,” Judge Roush told Mr. Arif.

Defending his motion, Mr. Arif told Judge Roush that the investigators were only billing time for hours they actually worked. “They have not wasted time. They have judiciously watched their hours. These witnesses have to be interviewed.”

Mr. Arif said he did not think his investigators would need all the time allotted to them, but that he wanted the time just in case.

Judge Roush warned the defense team not to attempt delaying the start of trial, which is set to begin Nov. 10. “That trial date is very firm, short of being engraved in stone,” she said.

Mr. Cooley said he did not “anticipate any difficulty in meeting the trial date.”

Mr. Horan said he also did not expect any problems starting the trial on time, and that he was not frustrated by what could be seen as a delay tactic by the defense. “I’m never frustrated,” Mr. Horan said.

Judge Roush said she will be out of town next week, making it likely that she will issue a ruling on a defense motion for change of venue early in the week of June 30. On June 2 she said she would rule within 30 days.

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