15 years after capture, fate of sniper Malvo remains unclear

The day after the Oct. 2002 capture of snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, the Washington region felt a sense of relief. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
The front page of The Washington Times captures the day after the Oct. 2002 capture of snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, and the sense of relief the Washington region felt. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
The WTOP.com home page on Oct. 24, 2002 -- the day John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested after a three-week shooting spree that terrified the D.C. area. (Courtesy Wayback Machine)
The WTOP.com home page on Oct. 24, 2002 — the day John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested after a three-week shooting spree that terrified the D.C. area. (Courtesy Wayback Machine) (WTOP.com/Courtesy Wayback Machin)
Police officers surround the area next to a Home Depot store near Seven Corners, Va., Monday, Oct. 14, 2002, after a woman was shot and killed in the parking lot. Officials are investigating whether this recent shooting is related to the recent spate of sniper shootings around the Washington area. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Police officers surround the area next to a Home Depot store near Seven Corners, Va., Monday, Oct. 14, 2002, after a woman was shot and killed in the parking lot. Officials are investigating whether this recent shooting is related to the recent spate of sniper shootings around the Washington area. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/RON EDMONDS)
Montgomery County police cadets comb the comb the woods looking for evidence near the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md., Monday Oct. 7, 2002, after a 13-year-old student was shot and critically wounded as his aunt dropped him off at school. Ballistics tests found Monday that the bullet which struck the boy was identical to those which killed some of the other victims in a series of sniper shootings in the Washington metropolitan area. (AP Photos/Evan Vucci)
Montgomery County police cadets comb the comb the woods looking for evidence near the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md., Monday Oct. 7, 2002, after a 13-year-old student was shot and critically wounded as his aunt dropped him off at school. Ballistics tests found Monday that the bullet which struck the boy was identical to those which killed some of the other victims in a series of sniper shootings in the Washington metropolitan area. (AP Photos/Evan Vucci) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/EVAN VUCCI)
A heavly-armed tactical team walks into the woods around the area near Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md. Monday, Oct. 7, 2002 near where a 13-year-old boy was shot and critically wounded as his aunt dropped him off at school, bringing fresh terror to the Washington area where a sniper killed six people last week. (AP Photo/J.Scott Applewhite)
A heavly-armed tactical team walks into the woods around the area near Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md. Monday, Oct. 7, 2002 near where a 13-year-old boy was shot and critically wounded as his aunt dropped him off at school, bringing fresh terror to the Washington area where a sniper killed six people last week. (AP Photo/J.Scott Applewhite) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/J.SCOTT APPLEWHITE)
Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms pass under yellow crime-scene tape outside a Ponderosa Steakhouse in Ashland, Va., Sunday, Oct. 20, 2002, where a man was shot Saturday night. Authorities finished a painstaking search around the steakhouse where the 37-year-old man was critically wounded and said Sunday they are assuming the attack is the work of the Washington-area sniper. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms pass under yellow crime-scene tape outside a Ponderosa Steakhouse in Ashland, Va., Sunday, Oct. 20, 2002, where a man was shot Saturday night. Authorities finished a painstaking search around the steakhouse where the 37-year-old man was critically wounded and said Sunday they are assuming the attack is the work of the Washington-area sniper. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE)
Fairfax County, Va. Police search for clues in a sniper shooting outside a Home Depot in Falls Church, Va. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2002. Ballistics evidence links the death of a woman shot in a suburban parking lot to the Washington-area sniper, and authorities said Tuesday they were confident that detailed witness accounts from the scene would lead them to the person who has now killed nine people.  (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
Fairfax County, Va. Police search for clues in a sniper shooting outside a Home Depot in Falls Church, Va. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2002. Ballistics evidence links the death of a woman shot in a suburban parking lot to the Washington-area sniper, and authorities said Tuesday they were confident that detailed witness accounts from the scene would lead them to the person who has now killed nine people. (AP Photo/Doug Mills) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/DOUG MILLS)
Montgomery County police chief Charles Moose holds a paper with a corrected address for the public to send tips  on the sniper shootings in the Washington D.C. area, during a news briefing at Montgomery County police headquarters in Rockville, Md., Monday, Oct. 14, 2002. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Montgomery County police chief Charles Moose holds a paper with a corrected address for the public to send tips on the sniper shootings in the Washington D.C. area, during a news briefing at Montgomery County police headquarters in Rockville, Md., Monday, Oct. 14, 2002. (AP Photo/Don Wright) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/DON WRIGHT)
In this view from WJZ-TV video, the car in which two men were arrested at a Maryland roadside rest stop early Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002, is pushed into a facility in Rockville, Md, after being transported from the rest area.  The two were wanted for questioning in the three-week wave of deadly sniper attacks that have terrorized the Washington, D.C. area. (AP Photo/courtesy WJZ-TV)
In this view from WJZ-TV video, the car in which two men were arrested at a Maryland roadside rest stop early Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002, is pushed into a facility in Rockville, Md, after being transported from the rest area. The two were wanted for questioning in the three-week wave of deadly sniper attacks that have terrorized the Washington, D.C. area. (AP Photo/courtesy WJZ-TV) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The 1990 Caprice used by convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo is seen at the Montgomery County Judicial Center after it was entered into evidence in the murder trial of Muhammad Wednesday, May 17, 2006,  in Rockville, Md. Muhammad, who is representing himself is on trial on six murder charges for killings in Maryland during the Oct 2002 Washington area sniper spree.(AP Photo/Chris Gardner, Pool)
The 1990 Caprice used by convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo is seen at the Montgomery County Judicial Center after it was entered into evidence in the murder trial of Muhammad Wednesday, May 17, 2006, in Rockville, Md. Muhammad, who is representing himself is on trial on six murder charges for killings in Maryland during the Oct 2002 Washington area sniper spree.(AP Photo/Chris Gardner, Pool) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/CHRIS GARDNER)
A newspaper box headline reading ‘Sniper Caught’ is seen on a Georgetown street a day after suspects John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo were arrested October 25, 2002 in Washington, DC. The suspects were arrested while sleeping in a car at a rest stop in Myersville, Maryland. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad is led into a Prince William County courtroom in Manassas, Va., Friday, Feb. 14, 2003, for a motions hearing. At the hearing, Judge LeRoy Millette said defense attorneys for Muhammad will be given a videotape of a reported confession alleged accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo made to police. Muhammad, 42, and Malvo have been accused of shooting 19 people, killing 13 and wounding six in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Mike Morones,Pool)
Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad is led into a Prince William County courtroom in Manassas, Va., Friday, Feb. 14, 2003, for a motions hearing. At the hearing, Judge LeRoy Millette said defense attorneys for Muhammad will be given a videotape of a reported confession alleged accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo made to police. Muhammad, 42, and Malvo have been accused of shooting 19 people, killing 13 and wounding six in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Mike Morones,Pool) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/MIKE MORONES)
Names of the 10 people killed in the Washington area sniper shootings are etched into a stone in the Montgomery County arboretum in Wheaton, Md., Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004. The section of the arboretum will get a new name _ Reflection Terrace in memorial for the 10 people killed in the Washington area sniper shootings in 2002. The memorial will be officially dedicated Friday. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)
Names of the 10 people killed in the Washington area sniper shootings are etched into a stone in the Montgomery County arboretum in Wheaton, Md., Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004. The section of the arboretum will get a new name _ Reflection Terrace in memorial for the 10 people killed in the Washington area sniper shootings in 2002. The memorial will be officially dedicated Friday. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/CHRIS GARDNER)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003 file photo, sniper shooting suspect John Lee Malvo is escorted from court after his preliminary hearing in Fairfax, Va.
 (AP Photo/ Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003 file photo, sniper shooting suspect John Lee Malvo is escorted from court after his preliminary hearing in Fairfax, Va. (AP Photo/ Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2004, file photo, Lee Boyd Malvo enters a courtroom in the Spotsylvania, Va., Circuit Court. Malvo, convicted of taking part as a teenager in deadly sniper attacks that terrorized the Washington area in 2002 lost a bid Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, for a new sentence in Maryland. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2004, file photo, Lee Boyd Malvo enters a courtroom in the Spotsylvania, Va., Circuit Court. Malvo, convicted of taking part as a teenager in deadly sniper attacks that terrorized the Washington area in 2002 lost a bid Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, for a new sentence in Maryland. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP, File) (AP/Mike Morones)
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The day after the Oct. 2002 capture of snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, the Washington region felt a sense of relief. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
The WTOP.com home page on Oct. 24, 2002 -- the day John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested after a three-week shooting spree that terrified the D.C. area. (Courtesy Wayback Machine)
Police officers surround the area next to a Home Depot store near Seven Corners, Va., Monday, Oct. 14, 2002, after a woman was shot and killed in the parking lot. Officials are investigating whether this recent shooting is related to the recent spate of sniper shootings around the Washington area. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Montgomery County police cadets comb the comb the woods looking for evidence near the Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md., Monday Oct. 7, 2002, after a 13-year-old student was shot and critically wounded as his aunt dropped him off at school. Ballistics tests found Monday that the bullet which struck the boy was identical to those which killed some of the other victims in a series of sniper shootings in the Washington metropolitan area. (AP Photos/Evan Vucci)
A heavly-armed tactical team walks into the woods around the area near Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Md. Monday, Oct. 7, 2002 near where a 13-year-old boy was shot and critically wounded as his aunt dropped him off at school, bringing fresh terror to the Washington area where a sniper killed six people last week. (AP Photo/J.Scott Applewhite)
Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms pass under yellow crime-scene tape outside a Ponderosa Steakhouse in Ashland, Va., Sunday, Oct. 20, 2002, where a man was shot Saturday night. Authorities finished a painstaking search around the steakhouse where the 37-year-old man was critically wounded and said Sunday they are assuming the attack is the work of the Washington-area sniper. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Fairfax County, Va. Police search for clues in a sniper shooting outside a Home Depot in Falls Church, Va. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2002. Ballistics evidence links the death of a woman shot in a suburban parking lot to the Washington-area sniper, and authorities said Tuesday they were confident that detailed witness accounts from the scene would lead them to the person who has now killed nine people.  (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
Montgomery County police chief Charles Moose holds a paper with a corrected address for the public to send tips  on the sniper shootings in the Washington D.C. area, during a news briefing at Montgomery County police headquarters in Rockville, Md., Monday, Oct. 14, 2002. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
In this view from WJZ-TV video, the car in which two men were arrested at a Maryland roadside rest stop early Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002, is pushed into a facility in Rockville, Md, after being transported from the rest area.  The two were wanted for questioning in the three-week wave of deadly sniper attacks that have terrorized the Washington, D.C. area. (AP Photo/courtesy WJZ-TV)
The 1990 Caprice used by convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo is seen at the Montgomery County Judicial Center after it was entered into evidence in the murder trial of Muhammad Wednesday, May 17, 2006,  in Rockville, Md. Muhammad, who is representing himself is on trial on six murder charges for killings in Maryland during the Oct 2002 Washington area sniper spree.(AP Photo/Chris Gardner, Pool)
Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad is led into a Prince William County courtroom in Manassas, Va., Friday, Feb. 14, 2003, for a motions hearing. At the hearing, Judge LeRoy Millette said defense attorneys for Muhammad will be given a videotape of a reported confession alleged accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo made to police. Muhammad, 42, and Malvo have been accused of shooting 19 people, killing 13 and wounding six in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Mike Morones,Pool)
Names of the 10 people killed in the Washington area sniper shootings are etched into a stone in the Montgomery County arboretum in Wheaton, Md., Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004. The section of the arboretum will get a new name _ Reflection Terrace in memorial for the 10 people killed in the Washington area sniper shootings in 2002. The memorial will be officially dedicated Friday. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003 file photo, sniper shooting suspect John Lee Malvo is escorted from court after his preliminary hearing in Fairfax, Va.
 (AP Photo/ Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2004, file photo, Lee Boyd Malvo enters a courtroom in the Spotsylvania, Va., Circuit Court. Malvo, convicted of taking part as a teenager in deadly sniper attacks that terrorized the Washington area in 2002 lost a bid Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, for a new sentence in Maryland. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP, File)

WASHINGTON — After three weeks of deadly sniper attacks that left 10 people dead and three wounded, the arrests of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo brought instant relief to a terrified region. But 15 years later the story’s final chapter remains incomplete.

Malvo, now 32, is contesting multiple life sentences in Maryland and Virginia, after recent Supreme Court rulings regarding mandatory life sentences for juvenile defendants. Malvo was 17 at the time of the sniper rampage.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 24, 2002, Muhammad and Malvo were taken into custody while asleep in the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice that had served as a mobile murder lair for 23 days.

Hours after their New Jersey license plate was leaked by law enforcement, a truck driver called 911 to report seeing the Caprice parked in a rest stop off Interstate 70, near Myersville, Maryland. Federal and state authorities apprehended the suspects without incident.

“Seems like yesterday,” said Scott Yinger, who in 2002 was the commander of Maryland State Police barrack in Frederick County.

Troopers from the barracks located the vehicle in the rest area, and stealthily prepared for a take-down.

Yinger said troopers closed down the interstate near the rest stop, and diverted highway traffic. Seven miles of the interstate were shut down, in both directions.

“They were trying to get innocent bystanders out of the rest area, while still containing the vehicle,” said Yinger. “There was no certainty that they were asleep, or that one was a lookout.”

“We caught them asleep, thankfully,” said Yinger, who is currently a division chief with the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Muhammad was executed in 2009, for the Prince William County murder of Dean Harold Meyers, after his trial was moved to Virginia Beach. Muhammad had also been convicted in 2006 in Montgomery County, Maryland for six murders, and had been sentenced to six life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Malvo was convicted in 2003 in Chesapeake Circuit Court, for the Fairfax County murder of Linda Franklin. He was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole.

In October 2004, Malvo entered an Alford Plea in Spotsylvania County, for the murder of Kenneth Bridges and attempting to murder Caroline Seawell. Malvo was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the Spotsylvania murder.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that mandatory life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional, and in 2016 determined the ruling should be applied retroactively.

This May, a federal judge ordered Malvo be resentenced for his Virginia crimes.

Earlier this month, Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.

Herring’s appeal concludes Malvo did not receive a mandatory life-without-parole sentence for the Fairfax murder, and that in the Spotsylvania case Malvo opted “for a plea agreement that took the death penalty off the table in exchange for stipulated life-without-parole sentences.”

In August 2017, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge denied Malvo’s motion for a new sentencing hearing for the six life sentences without the possibility of parole.

“The six consecutive life-without-parole sentences were imposed after a full consideration of Defendant’s physical, mental, and emotional state,” ruled Judge Robert Greenberg.

In addition, Greenberg said sentencing judge Paul Ryan was within his purview to determine Malvo was “irreparably corrupted,” in meting out a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

Malvo’s public defender has filed a notice of appeal with Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals, but has not yet filed a brief.


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