'D.C. sniper,' whose shooting spree started in Baton Rouge, has life sentence tossed
NORFOLK, Va. - Virginia courts will need to hold new sentencing hearings for a teenager who was part of the so-called “D.C. sniper” case and whose crimespree across the country got off to a violent start in Baton Rouge 15 years ago.
Friday, a federal judge tossed out two life sentences for Lee Boyd Malvo. Malvo and his accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, put much of the country on edge after firing off round after round of random gunfire in places, killing ten people and wounding three in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
The Associated Press reported Friday, U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson in Norfolk said Malvo is entitled to new sentencing hearings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. Malvo was 17 when he was arrested in 2002.
Muhammad was executed for the slayings.
Prior to the sniper case, Muhammad was charged in the Baton Rouge killing of beauty shop manager Hong Im Ballenger on Sept. 23, 2002. Muhammad was executed before the case here could proceed.
Malvo and Muhammad also shot a man outside a Baton Rouge shopping center before Ballenger's murder. The victim in the August 2002 shooting survived. Malvo eventually wrote a letter apologizing to the victim when Malvo realized in prison the man was alive.
"I am truly sorry for the pain I caused you and your loved ones. I was relieved to hear that you suffered no paralyzing injuries and that you are alive," Malvo wrote to John Gaeta of Albany, the victim.
Gaeta described the attack in a 2010 interview with the AP: "I said, 'What are you doing?' He lifted up the gun and shot me. Once I saw the weapon, my concentration was on that. And on dying. I thought, 'Is this how it's going to end?' I dropped to the ground and played dead. I didn't wiggle around and I didn't fight, because I thought if I did he might shoot me again," Gaeta recalled.
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