A federal judge based in Norfolk, Virginia, on Friday ordered new sentencing hearings for Lee Boyd Malvo based on a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave constitutional sentencing protections to juveniles.
Malvo was 17 when he was arrested in 2002 for the string of shootings that left 10 dead, several wounded and terrified the region. The new sentencing hearings were ordered on two capital murder sentences in Chesapeake Circuit Court plus one capital murder and one attempted capital murder conviction in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court.
The case out of Chesapeake County stemmed from charges that originated in Fairfax County, but the case was transferred.
A similar challenge to his life sentences in Maryland is due to come up in a hearing June 15.
Judge Raymond Jackson found:
Crucially, neither the plea agreement nor the sentencing judge provided any notification … that, by signing the plea agreement, he was waiving his Eighth Amendment right to a sentencing hearing in which the judge must determine “whether the juvenile offender before it is a child ‘whose crimes reflect transient immaturity’ or is one of ‘those rare children whose crimes reflect irreparable corruption’.”
Virginia does not offer the chance of parole to felons.
John Allen Muhammad, Malvo’s accomplice, was executed in 2009 for his role in the sniper shootings that left many afraid to venture outside or fill up their gas tank.
A spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement, “We are reviewing the decision and will do everything possible, including a possible appeal, to make sure this convicted mass murderer serves the life sentences that were originally imposed.”
WTOP’s Amanda Iacone contributed to this report.
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