Supreme Court agrees to review if DC sniper should get a new sentence

Supreme Court agrees to review if DC sniper should get a new sentence
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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a case challenging whether one of the notorious Beltway snipers should get a new sentence.

Lee Boyd Malvo was 17 when he murdered 10 people and wounded others alongside 41-year-old John Allen Muhammad in a string of random sniper attacks in 2002 that terrorized the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. region.


Because a number of the shootings happened at gas stations while the victims went about their daily lives, people across the region were afraid to go out in public or stop for gas.

Muhammed was executed in 2009, but Malvo was spared the death penalty and sentenced to life in prison without parole in Virginia, which he later challenged in light of the Supreme Court decisions in 2012 and 2016 that made mandatory life without parole sentences unconstitutional for most juvenile offenders.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately sided with Malvo, but the prison's warden is now appealing that court’s decision.

The state argues the 4th Circuit incorrectly expanded the ban on “mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes” to include life sentences where the judge could use their own discretion.

But the 4th Circuit said the Supreme Court made clear in 2016 that its 2012 ban on life without parole sentences applied to all juveniles accept those rare offenders whose crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility.

The 4th Circuit said because the sentencers in Malvo’s cases never considered whether to impose a sentence that was less than life without parole or made a finding that his crimes “reflected irreparable corruption or permanent incorrigibility,” he’s entitled to a new sentence.

The case will be heard in the next Supreme Court term, which begins in October.

--Updated at 11:07 a.m.