- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2006

Convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo is expected to take the stand in a Montgomery County courthouse Monday to testify against John Allen Muhammad, his former mentor and convicted accomplice in the October 2002 Washington-area sniper shootings trial, a person familiar with the case said yesterday.

In return for that testimony, Malvo is expected to plead guilty to the six sniper killings that occurred in Montgomery and receive a sentence to life in prison, said the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive stage of the plea discussions.

Malvo still has not officially reached a deal, the source said, but will testify Monday.

Muhammad, 45, is on trial for the six county killings. He already has been convicted of one sniper shooting in Virginia and sentenced to death.

Malvo, who was once so close to Muhammad that he called his older, unrelated accomplice “Dad,” is serving a life sentence for another Virginia sniper killing.

The pair also is suspected of earlier shootings in Maryland, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and Washington state.

Earlier yesterday, a forensics analyst with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified that the high-powered Bushmaster rifle found in Muhammad’s car matches the .223-caliber bullets taken from most of the 13 sniper shooting victims during the three-week spree.

Walter Dandridge’s testimony is key to the prosecution’s case against Muhammad because it ties the killings to the rifle found in Muhammad’s Chevrolet Caprice in October 2002.

Acting as his own attorney, Muhammad has tried to show that no one saw him commit the crimes.

But he must still contend with physical evidence against him, such as the DNA and ballistics tests that tie the bullets used in the shootings to the Bushmaster.

On Thursday, Brendan Shea, a DNA inspector for the FBI, told jurors that Muhammad’s DNA was found on a gun sight for the Bushmaster, which was in a duffel bag in Muhammad’s car when he and Malvo were arrested Oct. 24, 2002.

Muhammad’s DNA was also a potential match for some of the genetic material found on the butt of the Bushmaster rifle stock, as well as a pen and a bag of raisins from two different shooting scenes. Malvo’s DNA was recovered from several spots on the gun, according to court testimony.

AP writer Matthew Barakat contributed to this report.

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