- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Teenage sniper Lee Boyd Malvo has provided information to Montgomery County police implicating John Allen Muhammad in the October 2002 shooting spree, a police officer testified yesterdayat Muhammad’s second trial.

The testimony of Montgomery County Police Sgt. Roger Thomson is the first formal acknowledgment that Malvo is cooperating with the Montgomery County case against Muhammad. A person familiar with the case had previously indicated Malvo likely would testify for prosecutors against Muhammad.

Sgt. Thomson’s testimony yesterday in Montgomery County Circuit Court came only after Muhammad, acting as his own lawyer, opened the door during his cross-examination. Muhammad asked Sgt. Thomson, as he has most other witnesses, if he had any personal knowledge that Muhammad committed the sniper killings. Sgt. Thomson replied that he did not.

On redirect, prosecutor Katherine Winfree asked Sgt. Thomson more detailed questions, and he said that he had spoken to Malvo in the past two months and Malvo had implicated Muhammad in the killings.

Prosecutors are presenting evidence from the 14sniper shootings in October 2002 in Maryland, Virginia and the District that left 10 persons dead and three wounded. Muhammad and Malvo also have been linked to sniper shootings in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and Washington state.

Muhammad, 45, was sentenced to death in 2003 for the murder of Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station in Manassas, Va. The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to hear Muhammad’s appeal of his conviction and sentence. He still has the right, though, to file a habeus corpus petition, in which federal courts examine state trials for constitutional problems.

Malvo, whose Virginia attorneys argued that their client, 17 at the time, had been brainwashed by Muhammad, was given a life term for the murder of Linda Franklin at the Home Depot in Falls Church.

Also yesterday, Muhammad seized on the flood of reports of white box trucks and box vans at the scenes of the sniper shootings, as he cross-examined a police investigator, trying to show that no one saw his blue Chevrolet Caprice.

Muhammad barraged Sgt. Thomson with questions about reports of box trucks and vans seen leaving shooting scenes. Authorities initially thought the snipers were using that type of vehicle and urged the public to report sightings.

“Every time we had a shooting, we had hundreds of phone calls of people seeing a white box truck or white van,” said Sgt. Thomson, who helped coordinate the massive police investigation.

Sgt. Thomson earlier had told jurors that Muhammad’s car had been spotted by police in the D.C. area several times during the three-week shooting spree. The car didn’t arouse suspicion until late in the investigation.

Muhammad and Malvo were arrested in the car Oct. 24, 2002, in Frederick County, Md. Inside, investigators found a Bushmaster rifle later linked to the killings. But Muhammad, who has tried to prove that no one saw him or Malvo at the crime scenes, pushed Sgt. Thomson on the Caprice.

“No one called about the Chevy Caprice?” he asked Sgt. Thomson, who replied no. Sgt. Thomson later clarified that the Caprice was seen at the only D.C. shooting and that the white box truck theory had been dropped.

Prosecutors objected repeatedly to Muhammad’s string of questions. Miss Winfree said Muhammad was “trying to prove his case through this witness.”

Muhammad is charged with six counts of first-degree murder in the deaths in Montgomery County of James D. Martin, Premkumar A. Walekar, James L. “Sonny” Buchanan, Sarah Ramos, Lori-Ann Lewis Rivera and Conrad E. Johnson.

• Associated Press writer Stephen Manning contributed to this article.

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