Malvo indicted on 2 counts of murder, 1 weapons charge

Slaying of FBI analyst to be tried as act of terror

January 23, 2003|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

FAIRFAX, VA. - Court documents made public yesterday revealed that teen-aged sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo was indicted Tuesday on two counts of capital murder and one weapons charge, beginning a court process that could end with the state putting him to death.

The two-page indictment accuses the 17-year-old of gunning down FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47, on Oct. 14 in the parking lot of the Home Depot store in the Seven Corners area. The first count alleges that the slaying was an act of terrorism under a new and untested state law. Prosecutors cited allegations that Malvo and 42-year-old John Allen Muhammad, the other suspect in last fall's sniper shootings in the Washington area, asked for $10 million from the government to end the spree.

The second count alleges that Malvo killed more than one person within three years. At a preliminary hearing last week, Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. presented evidence and testimony linking Malvo to four shootings, three of those fatal.

The last count, a firearms charge, carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Malvo and Muhammad are accused in 18 shootings - 13 of those fatal - in five states and the District of Columbia, including a three-week spree that terrified the Washington area until they were arrested on Oct. 24.

Horan said that he saw no reason why the case could not be tried this summer.

However, Malvo's defense team has said it hopes his trial could follow that of Muhammad in neighboring Prince William County. Muhammad's trial on charges of killing Dean Meyers at a gas station near Manassas in October could last two months and is to begin Oct. 14.

The next steps in the Malvo case include an arraignment and the scheduling of key dates, such as for motions hearings and the trial.

Horan said he expects a hearing in coming days at which "the ground rules are laid out."

Michael S. Arif, who is heading the defense, said yesterday that his work had barely begun.

"We have to focus not only on our trials but on our appeals," he said. "We've got to have experts. We've got to have investigators. We've got to go to places where he has been."

Malvo, who is believed to be a native of Jamaica, is alleged to have lived in Antigua, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Washington state and other places.

This week, defense lawyer Thomas B. Walsh said that among the first motions the defense will file is one to suppress statements Malvo made to Fairfax County police after he was transferred from federal custody to Fairfax on Nov. 7. Several news organizations reported that Malvo has admitted to roles in several shootings.

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