- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2004

RICHMOND — A week after he was formally sentenced to death, sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad remains in the Prince William County jail with no immediate state plans to transfer him to death row at the Sussex I State Prison near Waverly.

Larry Traylor, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, said yesterday he didn’t know where Muhammad was.

“All I can tell you is that he is not in our system,” Mr. Traylor said.

Maj. Charles Land, acting superintendent of the Prince William jail, said later in a phone interview that Muhammad was still in the jail, “about 60 yards from where I’m standing.”

Maj. Land said authorities will not transfer Muhammad until it is determined when and where he will be tried next, most likely in neighboring Fairfax County.

“We’re just waiting to see if they’re going to send him to death row, or if another jurisdiction is going to get him,” Maj. Land said.

Muhammad’s accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, was transferred Friday from the Chesapeake jail to a state prison in Boydton, where the Department of Corrections will determine a permanent location for him.

The Mecklenburg Correctional Facility holds about 700 inmates and serves as a classification center.

Malvo was sentenced last Wednesday to life in prison for his role in the October 2002 sniper spree that left 10 persons dead in the Washington area.

On March 9, Prince William Circuit Judge LeRoy F. Millette Jr. sentenced Muhammad to death.

Judge Millette ordered that Muhammad be executed on Oct. 14, but that date likely will be postponed to allow appeals. All death sentences are automatically appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Muhammad, 43, was convicted of capital murder on Nov. 17 and a jury recommended he be sentenced to death for the Oct. 9, 2002, murder of Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station near Manassas.

During Muhammad’s trial, prosecutors described him as “captain of a killing team” and portrayed him as Malvo’s father figure, a stern and controlling man who trained the teenager to do his bidding.

Prosecutors in other states, including Alabama and Louisiana, are seeking Muhammad and Malvo’s extradition to face potential death-penalty charges for killings that occurred in the weeks before the D.C. sniper spree.

Virginia authorities have said they do not intend to extradite either man until Virginia prosecutors are finished with them.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr., who led the prosecution of Malvo, said after Malvo’s sentencing that he plans to try Muhammad in the killing of FBI analyst Linda Franklin. He said the trial could take place by the end of the summer.

Mr. Horan said future prosecutions in Virginia are worth the cost, “when you consider the egregiousness of the murders.”

There are 26 men on death row at Sussex I prison and one woman on death row at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.

Virginia has executed 89 persons since capital punishment was reinstated in 1982, second only to Texas.

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