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D.C. Sniper Case to Be Nixed After Virginia Governor Signs Law

Feb. 24, 2020, 8:16 PM

Attorneys for D.C. Sniper accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo and the Commonwealth of Virginia, where the 35-year-old is serving several life sentences, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss his case after Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation making all juvenile offenders eligible for parole.

Malvo was just 17 when he and John Allen Muhammad murdered a dozen people, seriously injured six others, and terrorized the Washington area in a nearly two-month shooting spree in 2002.

He received several life sentences in Virginia, without the possibility of parole.

But the Richmond-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated Malvo’s sentences, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has since ruled that no-parole sentences are unconstitutional for most juvenile offenders.

Virginia was challenging that ruling in the Supreme Court, but the new law moots the case, the parties said in a letter to the court clerk.

Signed Monday by Northam, the law makes juvenile offenders eligible for parole after 20 years. The measure will affect more than 700 sentences, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections. It takes effect July 1.

Even if paroled, Malvo is facing six additional life sentences in Maryland.

The case is Mathena v. Malvo, U.S., No. 18-217.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

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