Supreme Court may decide new sentencing for Beltway sniper
The lawyers for convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo and the Virginia attorney general have agreed to postpone a resentencing of the former teenaged defendant while awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether the resentencing should happen at all.
Malvo, now 33, was given life sentences without parole in Virginia for three of the 10 killings he and accomplice John Allen Muhammad committed in the Washington area in 2002, when Malvo was 17. Muhammad was convicted of one Virginia sniper killing and sentenced to death, and he was executed in 2009. The pair was also convicted of six slayings in Maryland and given life sentences there.
Investigators discovered Malvo and Muhammad lived in Bellingham for a few months in 2001 and 2002, staying at the Lighthouse Mission while Malvo attended Bellingham High School. Malvo was taking college-level Advanced Placement classes.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole were unconstitutional for juveniles, and in 2016 the court decided that ruling should be applied retroactively. Last year, a federal judge in Norfolk ruled that in Malvo’s 2003 trial for the killing of Linda Franklin in Falls Church, Virginia, the jury’s choice of a life sentence without parole, rather than the death penalty, was essentially a mandatory one, and ordered Malvo resentenced. His convictions stand.
In June, a federal appeals court reluctantly agreed with the resentencing order. Virginia’s attorney general appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. After initially asking the Supreme Court to order a stay of the resentencing while it considered whether to take the case, the attorney general’s office said Friday it had reached an agreement with Malvo’s lawyers to voluntarily postpone the resentencing until the high court rules. There is no time schedule set for when the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Virginia’s appeal.