dglobalnews.com Federal judge tosses life sentences for convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo
Published: Sat, May 27, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

Federal judge tosses life sentences for convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

Federal judge tosses life sentences for convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

On Friday, Malvo's three capital murder sentences and one attempted capital murder sentence were overturned by US District Judge Raymond Alvin Jackson of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Teenage sniper Lee Boyd Malvo is sentenced in Chesapeake, Virginia, to life in prison on two counts of murder in the Washington, D.C.,-area sniper shootings. But the new court dates could also bring Malvo - whose lawyers claimed he was a naive adolescent who fell under the murderous guile of accomplice John Allen Muhammad - another shot at someday earning his release. Then, last year, the Supreme Court applied that case retroactively to sentences issued before 2012. I imagine the Virginia Attorney General's office will appeal the ruling.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2012, in Miller v. Alabama, that "sentencing a child to life without parole is excessive for all but 'the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption.'" So in sentencing defendants 17 and younger, judges must now consider whether a juvenile's crime reflects "irreparable corruption" or simply "the transient immaturity of youth", Jackson wrote.

Now 32, Malvo is serving multiple life sentences at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia, a supermax prison. Muhammad was executed via lethal injection on November 10, 2009.

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A year after the jury unanimously spared Malvo's life - perhaps coincidentally - the U.S. Supreme Court ruled executing juveniles was no longer Constitutional.

The relevant case law, concerning the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and usual punishment, came down after Malvo was originally sentenced.

In an interview with the Washington Post a few years back, Malvo said, "I mean, I was a monster". I was a ghoul.

"I'm not surprised at the ruling", Cooley said Friday.

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