DC sniper Lee Boyd Malvo’s Md. life sentence remains in limbo

In the unlikely event convicted Beltway sniper Lee Boyd Malvo is granted parole in Virginia in less than two years, Montgomery County prosecutor John McCarthy said he is confident Malvo will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed Malvo’s appeal to the high court, after Virginia changed its state law, ensuring juveniles who serve 20 years of a life sentence — including Malvo — are granted eligibility for parole.

“He’s eligible for parole in 2022, it doesn’t mean he’s going to get paroled,” McCarthy said in a WTOP interview. “But, if he did get paroled, he would be released to the Maryland sentences, which as of today, remain intact — six sentences of life, without the possibility of parole.”

However, those sentences are still being challenged in Maryland’s federal court.

Malvo’s appeal of his Maryland sentences remains on hold, as District Court judge Peter Messitte decided to wait until Malvo’s Supreme Court appeal had played out.

The Supreme Court accepted Malvo’s Virginia case, based on the argument that recent High Court rulings determined mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles to be unconstitutional.

Unlike the case in Virginia, McCarthy said sentencing judge James Ryan carefully elaborated his reasons for choosing to sentence Malvo to life without parole for his Montgomery County crimes. Malvo was sentenced in 2006, before the Supreme Court reached its ruling on mandatory life sentences for juveniles.

“He did have discretion — he didn’t have to give him life without the possibility of parole, and he went through the litany of factors” involved in his determination, McCarthy said. “Judge Ryan performed the analysis the Supreme Court says you have to perform before you can give someone who’s a juvenile a life sentence.

Online court records show no motions have been filed, and no hearings have been set to restart Malvo’s Maryland appeal in the wake of the Supreme Court dismissal of his Virginia case.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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