- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 23, 2003

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Prosecutors in the capital-murder trial of Lee Boyd Malvo are expected to rest their case today after presenting a week of evidence highlighted by an audiotape of the teen saying he “intended to kill them all.”

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. has called more than 80 witnesses and introduced 220 pieces of evidence to make the case that Mr. Malvo pulled the trigger in many of the D.C.-area random sniper shootings of October 2002 that left 10 dead and three wounded.

The prosecution’s case included testimony that Mr. Malvo’s fingerprints and DNA were found at the scenes of various sniper attacks and on the Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle that ballistics analysis identified as the murder weapon in most of the shootings.

The jury also heard two audio recordings of Mr. Malvo, 18, telling police during a daylong interrogation that he was the triggerman and that he and John Allen Muhammad, 42, planned the killings to extort $10 million from the government.

On a recording played in court on Friday, Mr. Malvo talked excitedly about carrying out several shootings, saying “a head shot is best.” He also told police that he never felt sympathy for the victims and that he would kill again if given the chance.

The prosecution is expected to play the last of four audiotapes from the interrogation, though the defense has objected to letting the jury read along with a transcript prepared by police.

Craig S. Cooley, one of the lead attorneys on Mr. Malvo’s defense team, disputed the accuracy of the transcript Friday and told the judge that the audiotape is of poor quality.

The defense offered its own transcript with an alternate interpretation of the recording, but Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Jane Marum Roush indicated that the jury would see the prosecution’s transcript or none at all.

Judge Roush said she will rule today on whether the jurors can have the transcript. She said the audiotape will play, however she rules.

Mr. Malvo’s attorneys, who are expected to begin their case this afternoon or tomorrow, plan to argue their client is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mr. Cooley has said they will present testimony from about 60 witnesses, including family and acquaintances of Mr. Malvo and as many as nine mental-health experts. They also plan to show Mr. Malvo was brainwashed by Muhammad, transformed from a lonely and abused Jamaican boy into an automaton programmed to assassinate.

Mr. Malvo faces the death penalty on the two counts of capital murder in the Oct. 14, 2002, fatal shooting of Linda Franklin, 47, in the parking lot of a Home Depot store in Falls Church — one under Virginia’s new antiterrorism law and the other under a serial-killer law.

He also is charged with using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

As in the Muhammad trial, prosecutors have attempted to link Mr. Malvo to other sniper attacks to prove the capital-murder charges.

A Virginia Beach jury last week convicted Muhammad of identical charges in the Oct. 9, 2002, murder of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, at a gas station in Manassas.

He also was convicted of conspiracy. The jury will continue deliberating today whether to sentence Muhammad to death by lethal injection or to life in prison without possibility of parole.


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