Posted May 23, 2006 – Lee Boyd Malvo, the teen sidekick in the 2002 sniper rampage that rocked the nation’s capital, testified Tuesday that his former cohort and father figure John Allen Muhammad sought to “terrorize this nation.”
The now 21-year-old sniper suspect told a judge before testifying that he was going to plead guilty to six murders in Montgomery County as part of a plea bargain.
The plea deal will allow Malvo to receive life in prison – the maximum sentence after the Supreme Court's ruling in 2005 that found the execution of juvenile killers unconstitutional. Malvo was 17 at the time of the shootings.
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Malvo said Muhammad, who's charged with six murders in Maryland, laid out a 30-day plan for six sniper shootings a day, which would be followed by bombings that would target schools, buses and hospitals.
“We’re going to terrorize this nation,” Malvo testified that Muhammad told him, adding that Muhammad's plan included kidnapping his own three children, whom he had lost in a custody battle, then leaving the country.
“I said ‘Why?’ He didn’t give me an answer,” Malvo said.
He testified that a few months after meeting Muhammad in May 2000, he began introducing him as his son, and “basically took me under his wing.”
Muhammad, who continues to refer to Malvo as his son, said the teen's parents had abandoned him.
Prosecutor Katherine Winfree asked, “Did you come to love Mr. Muhammad?”
“Yes,” Malvo responded.
“Did you tell him that?” Winfree pressed.
“Yes,” Malvo replied.
Malvo's lawyers argue that Muhammad brainwashed his young companion and turned him into a murderer.
On Oct. 24, 2002, the killing combo was arrested. At that time, Malvo confessed to being the gunman in all the shootings. He later took the comments back, telling mental health experts that Muhammad was the triggerman in nearly all the deaths.
Muhammad, 45, received a death sentence, while Malvo got life after being convicted in Virginia for a sniper murder.
In Muhammad’s first trial, Malvo was asked to take the stand; he refused, resorting to his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
The sniper spree, which horrified residents of D.C. and neighboring communities in Maryland and Virginia, left 10 people dead and three wounded.
A second trial is being pursued, in case the Virginia conviction is overturned.
Muhammad says he intends to prove Malvo's innocence as well as his own.
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