Maryland high court says DC sniper Lee Boyd Malvo must be resentenced

Lee Boyd Malvo is serving four life terms in Virginia for his role in the sniper shootings that gripped the D.C. region with fear in 2002. Maryland’s highest court on Friday ruled he must be resentenced for his convictions in Montgomery County.

Malvo was 17 years old when he and John Allen Muhammad, who was 41, began a crime spree in D.C., Maryland and Virginia for a period of three weeks in October 2002 that killed 10 people and critically wounded three others before they were arrested later that month at a Maryland rest stop.

In 2006, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge sentenced Malvo to six life sentences without the possibility of parole for his Maryland crimes after Malvo pleaded guilty for his role in the killing of six people in Montgomery County.

The victims in Montgomery County were James Martin, James Buchanan, Premkumar Walekar, Sarah Ramos, Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera and Conrad Johnson.

In 2017, Malvo filed a motion to correct what he claimed was an illegal sentence under a Maryland law, based on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders.

In 2021, the Maryland General Assembly abolished life sentences without parole for juveniles, overriding a veto by Gov. Larry Hogan. Virginia passed a similar law.

Maryland’s Juvenile Restoration Act, or JUVRA, states that people who have served at least 20 years of a sentence for a crime committed when they were under the age of 18 can file a motion asking the circuit court to reduce their sentence.

On Friday, the Maryland Court of Appeals said that to comply with the standards of the Supreme Court, the Circuit Court must resentence Malvo.

According to the panel’s opinion, Malvo’s resentencing may an “academic question” since he would have to be granted parole in Virginia before beginning to serve his consecutive life sentences in Maryland.

“Ultimately, it is not for this Court to decide the appropriate sentence for Mr. Malvo or whether he should ever be released from his Maryland sentences,” the opinion states. “We hold only that the Eighth Amendment requires that he receive a new sentencing hearing at which the sentencing court, now cognizant of the principles elucidated by the Supreme Court, is able to consider whether or not he is constitutionally eligible for life without parole under those decisions.”

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up