In 2002, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area was terrorized by two snipers who shot random victims over a three-week period. Now, Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the snipers, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for mercy.
On Wednesday, October 15, Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the killing spree, asked the court to resentence him due to recent Supreme Court cases that considered a minor's age when sentencing.
Malvo, now 34 years old, claims his original sentence violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments.” Court documents report Malvo’s attorneys are arguing how the mandatory life sentences for children are excessive.
"Invalidation of 'mandatory' life without-parole sentences is premised on the court's recognition that the qualities of youth -- immaturity, vulnerability, and changeability -- must be taken into account when sentencing a juvenile offender because those qualities will typically make life without parole an excessive punishment for a juvenile," Malvo's attorneys wrote.
According to Vox, the Eighth Amendment “forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile offenders.”
WTOP reports Malvo is currently serving four life sentences in Virginia.
Malvo, alongside John Allen Muhammad, killed 10 people and injured three others during the random attacks in the nation’s capital 17 years ago.
Muhammad was executed on November 10, 2009 in Greensville Correctional Center in Virginia.
Despite the serial killer’s youth, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh argued Malvo was at least equally guilty as Muhammad, who was sentenced to death. He was 48 years old at the time of his execution.
“Malvo was less than four months away from turning 18,” said Morrogh. “There are some who don’t believe in life sentences for juvenile offense, and I myself agree that a life sentence for a juvenile should be very rare.”
But Morrough reiterates how he wouldn’t “want to run into Malvo in the supermarket, someday.”
The Sentencing Projects reports nearly 2,100 Americans are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes committed as juveniles.
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