A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences without parole for Lee Boyd Malvo, one of two gunmen convicted in the “D.C. sniper” shooting cases in 2002.
The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson in Norfolk, Va., said that Malvo is entitled to new sentencing hearings, based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2012 that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional; late last year, the high court applied that decision retroactively to sentences issued before 2012.
Jackson ordered the state of Virginia’s courts to hold new sentencing hearings.
Malvo was 17 years old when he was arrested in 2002 for a series of shootings in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia during which 10 people were killed and three wounded over a three-week span.
Malvo was convicted of capital murder for the slaying of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, who was shot in the head. Prosecutors sought a death sentence, but a jury opted for life in prison.
Malvo has argued that his accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, then 42, sought Malvo out and “molded” him into partaking in the heinous killing binge.
Like many mass shooters, Muhammad was a domestic abuser and allegedly started the crime spree to kill his estranged wife.
Muhammad was executed by lethal injection in 2009.
Since 2002, Malvo has been serving his sentence at Red Onion State Prison in Southwest Virginia, a “supermax” facility where two-thirds of the mostly black prisoners are held in solitary confinement, alone 23 hours per day, in 7-by-12-foot cells with slats for light.
Read more at the Associated Press.