- - Thursday, October 17, 2019

Life without parole may have been too lenient for Lee Boyd Malvo, who now seeks eligibility for release (“Several victims ask for mercy for Lee Boyd Malvo,” Web, Ot. 15). In 2002 Malvo was the admitted 17-year-old trigger man in at least eight murders of persons he did not even know. He was no impulsive juvenile who killed during a single incident, nor was he the heedless sprayer of bullets into a crowd containing an intended target. He was a cold-blooded serial sniper who killed obvious innocents again and again over a period of six weeks, picking victims at random like a true terrorist. If not caught, Malvo would have continued killing indefinitely. Clearly, he learned nothing from repeated killings — except that he could apparently get away with them.

Most teenagers would have had more conscience than Malvo, even if under the influence of a supposed Svengali like John Muhammad. Releasing this man — ever — would send the foolish signal that there is no such thing as “irreparable corruption,” the exception recognized by the Supreme Court allowing for a mandatory life sentence in prison for juvenile offenders. The concept itself is more than hyperbolic, as though designed to make it impossible to apply to anyone, while seeming to make a concession to our need for justice.

ROBERT A. GORDON


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