Maryland court orders Malvo resentencing
Maryland’s highest court on Friday ordered that Jamaica-born sniper Lee Boyd Malvo be resentenced because of a 2012 US Supreme Court decision barring mandatory life sentences for juveniles.
The now-37-year-old Malvo was convicted, along with John Allen Muhammed, then 41, for killing four people in Virginia and six people in Maryland in 2002 in a three-week, three-state rampage that also included Washington. Ten people died in the killing spree.
In 2006, Malvo was given terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole – the harshest possible punishment in Maryland.
Muhammad was sentenced to death and was executed in Virginia in 2009.
Kiran Iyer, a Maryland public defender, had argued that Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, should benefit from Maryland’s new law enabling prisoners convicted as juveniles to seek release once they have served at least 20 years.
The Maryland court ruled on Friday that a juvenile can no longer be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, if the crime reflected “transient immaturity” rather than “permanent incorrigibility”.
It said, however, that it was highly unlikely that Malvo would ever be released from custody as he is also serving four separate life sentences for the murders in Virginia and would first have to be paroled there.
The court ordered that Malvo be resentenced, but no date has been set.
Montgomery County State Attorney John McCarthy, however, indicated on Friday that he will still seek the maximum sentences he can for Malvo.
“I don’t know if he will ever get out of Virginia, if we will ever see him,” McCarthy said. “But we will seek sentences that would keep him locked up in Maryland for life if he ever did make it here.”
“He would first have to be granted parole in Virginia before his consecutive life sentences in Maryland even begin,” Judge Robert N. McDonald wrote in the majority ruling. “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. We hold only that the Eighth Amendment requires that he receive a new sentencing hearing at which the sentencing court, now cognisant 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.”
Malvo is at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia.