- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 2, 2003

VIRGINIA BEACH — Sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo is angry at his erstwhile “father” — fellow suspect John Allen Muhammad — who lied to him and led him into his current troubles, his attorney said.

Mr. Malvo’s capital murder trial begins one week from today in Chesapeake.

“He is, at this point, angry at Mr. Muhammad,” said Craig S. Cooley, one of Mr. Malvo’s attorneys. “He is bewildered as to how he got to this point.

“He recognizes that Mr. Muhammad misrepresented quite a bit of information to him and took him down a path that he’s slowly recognizing the lack of truth in,” Mr. Cooley said.

Mr. Malvo, 18, and Mr. Muhammad, 42, have been accused of last year’s sniper shootings, in which 10 persons were killed and three wounded in the Washington area during a three-week spree in October. They also have been linked to nine other shootings, five fatal, in five other states. Both face the death penalty, if convicted.

The teenager has appeared on two separate days in the Muhammad trial here, which enters its fourth week today. Some courtroom observers said he glowered at the elder defendant during an appearance last month. At one point, Mr. Muhammad made a hand gesture and smiled at Mr. Malvo, who did not respond.

Mr. Malvo will enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Mr. Cooley and fellow attorney Michael S. Arif will argue that the elder suspect “brainwashed” their client, which resulted in Mr. Malvo’s suffering a form of mental illness.

The teenage suspect is charged in the Oct. 14, 2002, slaying of Linda Franklin, 47, at a Falls Church Home Depot.

He faces two counts of capital murder — one under Virginia’s new antiterrorism law, the other for killing more than one person in three years.

He also is charged with conspiracy and illegal use of a firearm.

Both suspects were arrested Oct. 24, 2002, as they slept in a blue Chevy Caprice at a rest area off Interstate 70 in Frederick County, Md.

Since then, Mr. Muhammad has denied any involvement in the shootings, although he has said in court that he was there and knows what happened.

He is being tried for the Oct. 9, 2002, fatal shooting of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, at a Manassas gas station.

Mr. Malvo, however, has confessed on two different occasions that he pulled the trigger in several shootings. His attorneys have said he might have lied about his involvement to protect his “father.”

Over the summer, Mr. Cooley and Mr. Arif said their client was undergoing a “transformation” and that the “spell” Mr. Muhammad had cast over him was being lifted.

Now, the teenager “is compliant and continues to work with us in a reasonable and courteous manner,” Mr. Cooley said.

“He’s aware the trial date is approaching.”

Mr. Malvo has exercised his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in declining to testify against his former mentor.

Mr. Cooley said the way that Mr. Muhammad manipulated his client is “horrendously sad.”

“Everything about this case is sad,” he said.

“And the finger should point one place.”

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