Lee Boyd Malvo (also known
as John Lee Malvo ) (born February 18, 1985), is a
Jamaican national convicted, along with John Allen Muhammad, of mass murder in connection with the Beltway sniper attacks, which took
place in the Washington
Metropolitan Area over a three-week period in October
According to his own confession they had planned to
kill 6 people a day for a month in order "to terrorize
the nation". The beltway attacks
turned out to be only the last of a series of shootings across the
States which began on the West Coast.
befriended the juvenile Malvo, and had enlisted him in the
murderous rampage under some false pretenses and influences which
are still not fully understood by authorities. According to Craig
Cooley, one of Malvo's defense attorneys, Malvo believed Muhammad
when he told him that the $10 million ransom
sought from the US government to stop
the sniper killings would be used to
establish a Utopian society for 140 black homeless children on a Canadian
Malvo ultimately cooperated with investigators and is serving
multiple life sentences
possibility of parole
. Muhammad was sentenced to death
and was executed by lethal
injection in Jarratt, Virginia on November 10, 2009.
Joining John Allen Muhammad
Malvo and his mother, Una Sceon James, first met John Allen Muhammad in Antigua and Barbuda around 1999, where Una and Muhammad developed a
strong friendship. Later, Una left Antigua for Fort Myers,
Florida, using false documents.
She left her son
with Muhammad, reportedly planning to have him follow her later. He
did join his mother for a short time in 2001. Lee Malvo arrived as
an illegal alien in Miami in 2001. He and his mother were apprehended by the
Border Patrol in Bellingham, Washington, in December 2001.
In January 2002, Malvo
was released on a $1,500 bond. Malvo caught up with Muhammad soon
2002, Malvo traveled to Bellingham, Washington, where he lived in a homeless shelter with Muhammad and enrolled
in high school with Muhammad falsely
listed as his father, but he did not make any friends.
Washington area, according to his statements to investigators,
Malvo shoplifted the Bushmaster
XM-15 from Bull's Eye
Shooter Supply, a dealer for Bushmaster Firearms, Inc., a
manufacturer and distributor based in Windham, Maine.
About the same time, Muhammad practiced his
on the Bull's Eye firing
adjacent to the gun shop. Under federal laws
, neither was legally allowed to
purchase or possess guns.
Sniper attack victims
These are the victims who were murdered or wounded in the attacks.
This list is in chronological order.
||October 2, 2002 at 6:04 PM
||October 3, 2002 at 7:41 AM
||October 3, 2002 at 8:12 AM
||Aspen Hill, Maryland
||October 3, 2002 at 8:37 AM
||Silver Spring, Maryland
|Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera
||October 3, 2002 at 9:58 AM
||October 3, 2002 at 9:20 PM
||October 4, 2002 at 2:30 PM
||October 7, 2002 at 8:09 AM
|Dean Harold Meyers
||October 9, 2002 at 8:18 PM
||October 11, 2002 at 9:40 AM
||October 14, 2002 at 9:19 PM
||Falls Church, Virginia
||October 19, 2002 at 8:00 PM
||October 22, 2002 at 5:55 AM
||Aspen Hill, Maryland
Malvo was initially arrested under federal charges, but they were
dropped. He was transferred to Virginia custody and
sent to jail in Fairfax County. He was charged by the Commonwealth of
Virginia for two capital crimes: the murder of FBI analyst
Linda Franklin "in the commission of an act of terrorism" (an addendum to Virginia law that was
added after the September
11, 2001, attacks), and the murder of more than one person in a
He was also charged with the unlawful use
of a firearm in the murder of Franklin. Initially, a Fairfax
attorney, Michael Arif, was appointed to represent him, along with
Thomas B. Walsh and Mark J. Petrovich. Later, prominent Richmond
attorney Craig Cooley was appointed to the team and assumed a
leadership role. While in jail, he made a recorded confession
to Detective Samuel Walker in which he
stated that he "intended to kill them all"
Under a change of venue
, the trial
was moved over 150 miles away to the city of Chesapeake
in southeastern Virginia
. He pleaded
not guilty by reason of insanity
all charges on the grounds that he was under Muhammad's complete
control. One of Malvo's psychiatric witnesses testified that Muhammad, a
member of Nation of Islam, had
indoctrinated him into believing that the proceeds of the extortion
attempt would be used to begin a new nation of only pure black
young persons somewhere in Canada.
On December 18, 2003, after nearly 14 hours of deliberation, the
jury convicted him of both charges. On December 23, a jury
recommended a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of
parole for the murder of Franklin. On March 10, 2004, a judge
formally sentenced him to life in prison without parole.
October 26, 2004, under a plea bargain
to avoid a possible death penalty,
Malvo entered an Alford plea to the
charges of murdering Kenneth Bridges and attempting to murder
Caroline Seawell while Malvo was in Spotsylvania
He also plead guilty to two firearms
charges and agreed not to appeal
conviction for the murder of Franklin. He was sentenced to life in
prison without parole for murder, plus eight years imprisonment for
the weapons charges.
Virginia prosecutor in Prince William County had stated he would wait to decide whether to try
him on additional capital charges in his jurisdiction until the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled on whether juveniles may be subject to the
penalty of execution.
However, in light of the March 1, 2005 Supreme Court decision in
Roper v. Simmons
that the Eighth
prohibits execution for crimes committed when under
the age of 18, the prosecutors in Prince William County
have decided not
to pursue the charges against Malvo. However, prosecutors
in Maryland, Louisiana and Alabama were still interested in putting both Malvo and
Muhammad on trial.
As Malvo was 17 when he committed the crimes, he cannot face the
death penalty, but still may be extradited
to Alabama, Louisiana, and other
states for prosecution. At the outset of the Beltway sniper
prosecutions, the primary reason for extraditing the two suspects
from Maryland, where they were arrested, to Virginia, was the
differences in how the two states deal with the death penalty.
While the death penalty is allowed in Maryland, it is only applied
to persons who were adults at the time of their crimes, whereas
Virginia had also allowed the death penalty for offenders who had
been juveniles when their crimes were committed.
In May 2005, Virginia and Maryland reached an agreement to allow Maryland to begin prosecuting some of the pending charges there, and Malvo was extradited to Montgomery County, Maryland under heavy security.
On June 16, 2006, Malvo told authorities that he and Muhammad were
guilty of four additional shootings. The four most
recently linked victims were also shot in 2002: a man killed in
Angeles during a robbery in February
or March; a 76-year-old man who survived a shooting on May 18 at a
golf course in Clearwater, Florida; a man shot to death while doing yard work in
Texas, May 27; and a 54-year-old man who survived being
shot on August 1 during a robbery outside a shopping mall near
On October 10, 2006, Malvo pleaded guilty to the six murders he was
charged with in Maryland. On November 8, he was sentenced to six
consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
October 27, 2006, Malvo told police that he and Muhammad were
responsible for the killing of a 60-year-old man on a golf course
He claimed that they shot Jerry Taylor
while he was practicing chip shots on a local golf course. Tucson
police had long sought to speak with Malvo about the March 19, 2002
death of Taylor, who died from a single long range gunshot.
In 2003, Malvo and Muhammad were named in a major civil lawsuit
by the Legal Action Project of
the Brady Center to
Prevent Gun Violence
on behalf of some two of their victims who
were seriously wounded and the families of some of those murdered.
Although Malvo and Muhammad were both believed to be indigent and
therefore judgment-proof, co-defendants Bull's Eye Shooter Supply
contributed to a landmark $2.5 million out-of-court
settlement in late 2004.
The "real plan," as told by Lee Boyd Malvo
Muhammad's May 2006 trial in Montgomery County, Maryland, Malvo took the stand and confessed to a more
detailed version of the pair's plans.
Malvo, after extensive
counseling, admitted that he was lying in the statement he made
after his arrest when he had admitted to being the triggerman for
every shooting. Malvo claimed that he had said this in order to
protect Muhammad from the death penalty, because it was more
difficult to achieve the death penalty for a minor. Malvo stated,
"I'm not proud of myself. I'm just trying to make
, expressing his regret in the shootings. In his two
days of testimony, Malvo outlined detailed aspects of all the
Part of his testimony concerned Muhammad's complete, multiphase
plan consisted of three phases in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas.
Phase One consisted of
meticulously planning, mapping, and practicing their locations
around the DC area. This way after each shooting they would be able
to quickly leave the area on a predetermined path, and move on to
the next location. Muhammad's goal in Phase One was to kill six
white people a day for 30 days. Malvo went on to describe how Phase
One did not go as planned due to heavy traffic and the lack of a
clear shot and/or getaway at different locations.
Phase Two was meant to be moved up to Baltimore. Malvo described
how this phase was close to being implemented, but never was
carried out. Phase Two was intended to begin by killing a pregnant
woman by shooting her in the stomach.
step would have been to shoot and kill a Baltimore police officer.
At the officer's funeral,
there were to be created several improvised explosive devices
These explosives were intended to kill a large number of police,
since many police would attend another officer's funeral.
The last phase was to take place very shortly after, if not during,
Phase Two. The third phase was to extort several million dollars
from the U.S. government. This money would be used to finance a
larger plan: to travel north into Canada and recruit other
effectively orphaned boys to use weapons and stealth, and send them
out to commit shootings across the country.
On October 2, 2007, Malvo called a daughter of one of the victims,
Cheryll Witz, to apologize for his role.
- Baltimore Sun coverage of Muhammad and
- Gibson, Dirk Cameron. Clues from Killers. 2004, pp.
- "Murder trial for Malvo set to start in
- The Scotsman report on Muhammad and
- "Sniper reportedly details 4 new shootings"
Associated Press/KX net.com June 16, 2006
- CNN coverage of Muhammad and Malvo
- "Malvo: Muhammad 'made me a monster'; Younger man
cross-examined by former mentor in sniper trial", CNN, May 23,
- "Rehabbing The D.C. Snipers"
- Five years After Killings, Sniper Calls Victim's