Supreme Court Agrees To Review DC Sniper Case

Lee Boyd Malvo might be re-sentenced due to new constitutional rules that treat juveniles differently.

Lee Boyd Malvo is escorted by deputies as he is brought into court to be identified by a witness during the murder trial.
Davis Turner-Pool / Getty Images

Lee Boyd Malvo might be re-sentenced due to new constitutional rules that treat juveniles differently.

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to review the case of Lee Boyd Malvo, who is currently serving life without parole for his role in the sniper shooting spree that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area in 2002. As per CNN, a lower court ruled that Malvo should be re-sentenced because he was 17 at the time the crimes were committed, and the Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider.

According to USA Today, the request stems from a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences can only be imposed on juveniles when they commit murder and are permanently incorrigible. In addition, the ruling was made retroactive in a high court decision made four years afterward.

Last June, a panel U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit annulled Malvo’s sentences and asked the trial court to determine if the crimes he committed are a reflection of “permanent incorrigibility” or the “transient immaturity of youth.”

Some courts believe that the Supreme Court’s decision on mandatory life-without-parole sentences on juveniles means that although they are unconstitutional, laws that give a judge discretion are not. For this reason, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled against Malvo, according to The Washington Post.

But although the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond believes that there is no argument as to whether Malvo’s crime is “irreparable corruption,” the judges ruled that the new constitutional rules must still be considered.

“Malvo was 17-years-old when he committed the murders, and he now has the retroactive benefit of new constitutional rules that treat juveniles differently for sentencing.”

Regardless of whether Virginia is ordered to re-sentence Malvo, he faces life without parole in Maryland for the six murders he was convicted of committing there, and a federal judge ruled that he will not receive a new sentence.

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As per The Washington Post, Malvo previously spoke out about the sniper shootings, each of which he claims to remember in vivid detail. But in particular, he says that victim Ted Franklin’s eyes — and the shock, devastation, and sadness in them — stood out the most.

“They are penetrating,” he said in an interview from prison.

“It is the worst sort of pain I have ever seen in my life. His eyes… Words do not possess the depth in which to fully convey that emotion and what I felt when I saw it… You feel like the worst piece of scum on the planet.”

Although Malvo’s attitude appears to have changed since 10 years ago when he was defiant and boastful, whether this will translate into a reduced sentence remains to be seen.