Tuesday, Dec. 23
That’s all from Chesapeake. Happy holidays and happy new year, and we’ll update you on the sentencing hearing in March.
A jury spared the life of Lee Boyd Malvo
today, recommending life in prison with no chance of parole for his
role in the sniper shootings that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area
Judge Roush will hold a final sentencing hearing on March 10 in Chesapeake, Va.
took the jury, made up of eight women and four men, eight hours and 40
minutes over two days to decide between imposing death or sentencing
Malvo to life in prison. They also imposed two separate fines of
the verdict statement, jurors said they found both of the prosecution’s
criteria for death — that the crimes were "outrageously or wantonly
vile" and that Malvo was probably a future danger to society — to be
present. But they found that the mitigating factors of the case
outweighed those judgements and, as allowed under Virginia law, they
opted to give Malvo life in prison.
Dressed in a bright blue sweater, Malvo stared ahead as the verdict was read aloud. His defense lawyers stared at the table, Craig Cooley's head deeply bowed as if in prayer. After the verdict was read, Cooley tapped Malvo on the arm.
verdict was delayed slightly because the jury initially returned with
only one of the two seven-page verdict sheets filled out -- the one for
the count of terrorism. The judge sent jurors back into the jury room
to fill out the other verdict sheets. After they returned, she had to
send them back again because they had still not completed the sheets.
The third time they returned, they had filled the sheets out correctly.
Thursday, the same panel found Malvo guilty of two counts of capital
murder, returning the verdict after almost 13 hours of deliberation
over two days.
Malvo was charged with two counts of capital murder. The first count involved the shooting of Linda G. Franklin
in an act of terrorism. Franklin was shopping at a Home Depot near
Falls Church, Va. on Oct. 14, 2002, when she was killed. The second
count charged that Malvo killed Franklin within three years of
murdering Dean H. Meyers. Meyers was pumping gas in Manassas, Va., on Oct. 9, 2002, when he was fatally shot.
Malvo was also found guilty of illegally discharging a firearm.
Last month, Malvo’s partner John Allen Muhammad, 43, was convicted for his role in the same crimes and a jury recommended a death sentence.
defense tried to convince the jury that Malvo had been so brainwashed
by Muhammad that he did not know right from wrong, and should therefore
be found not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury rejected the idea.
They did apparently agree with Cooley’s closing argument, in which he pleaded with them to spare Malvo’s life.
acts are despicable; the child is not. The acts are irredeemable; the
child is not," Cooley said Monday. "It’s a test of our humanity to
condemn the act, but love the child."
Franklin’s daughter Katrina Hannum broke down and wept, shaking her head, after the verdict was read.
Victoria Buchanan Snyder -- the sister of James L. "Sonny" Buchanan,
who was shot near White Flint auto mall on Oct. 3, 2002 -- thanked the
jury at a news conference after the verdict. Through tears, she said
she realized that it was probably because of Malvo's age that he was
sentenced to life in prison.
don’t think there could be another case more deserving of capital
punishment. I respect the jury’s decision and I will live with it,"
Snyder said. "I am disappointed, but I accept it."
Paul La Ruffa,
who was shot in the parking lot of his Clinton restaurant on Sept. 5,
2002, said he thought it was unfair that Malvo was sentenced to life in
prison after a jury had recommended the death penalty for Muhammad.
"Was Malvo less guilty than Muhammad? I don’t think so. I’m a bit disappointed in the system," he said.
attorneys Cooley and Arif spoke, saying they intended to file appeals
on Malvo’s behalf. They can submit those petitions up to 30 days after
the final sentencing hearing in March.
said they were confident that Malvo will have additional trials, but
that that they would not be the lawyers in trials in Alabama or
Louisiana. They did not mention Maryland as a possible future venue.
"Lee does have remorse," Cooley said. "We do feel that everyone is redeemable."
He said the trial "takes an emotional toll" and that he was exhausted. "I felt a lot of emotion right at the surface."
"This was an agonizing, very difficult decision" for the jury to make, Arif said.
relieved and very appreciative to the jury," Cooley said. "There’s not
a lot of joy in this case, no matter what the result."
The final speaker at the news conference was James Wolfscale, the foreman of the jury and a minister. Six other jurors stood behind him as he read a prepared statement.
past six weeks have been an extremely difficult journey for everyone,"
he said, adding that the process was "both mentally challenging and
Lee Boyd Malvo
has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. The jury of four
men and eight women returned the unanimous verdict after 10 hours of
Malvo was found guilty on all three counts with which he was charged -- the murder of Linda G. Franklin, capital murder in an act of terrorism and the illegal use of a firearm -- on Dec. 18.
A verdict has been reached and will be announced
shortly. Court was held up for several minutes because jurors came back
with only one of the three verdict forms filled out. They have been
sent back to the jury room to complete the other form; please stay
The jury broke for an hour-long lunch at 1 p.m. No word yet; please stay tuned.
Before lunch, Arif was handing out candy to reporters and spectators in the courtroom.
About half a dozen anti-death penalty activists are protesting today outside the courthouse.
The jury is still out. Deliberations began today at 9 a.m.
judge indicated at the beginning of the trial that there would be no
court Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. If jurors do not conclude
deliberations today, court would resume at 9 a.m. Monday.
Click here for yesterday's coverage.