A federal judge has overturned sentencing for Lee Boyd Malvo who was convicted for a shooting spree in Washington D.C. over a decade ago. The Los Angeles Times reports that District Court Judge Raymond Jackson tossed the double-life-without-parole sentences Friday (May 26) since Malvo was only 17 at the time he was sentenced.
His decision was based off a 2012 Supreme Court ruling making it unconstitutional to issue mandatory life sentences for juveniles. In 2016, the court opted to apply the ruling retroactively, making parole a possibility for thousands of inmates who were sentenced as minors.
When Malvo was sentenced in 2006, jurors only had the choices of “death” or “life without parole”. While Malvo got life in prison, his accomplice, John Allen Muhammad received the death penalty and was executed in 2009.
Malvo was apprehended by border patrol in 2001 after coming to the United States illegally from Jamaica. When he was released in 2002 he reconnected with Muhammed and the two began living in a homeless shelter. Soon after Malvo enrolled in high school, the two began a killing spree of sniper attacks in the D.C. area. In an interview with Matt Lauer of the Today Show in 2012, Malvo claimed Muhammed, whom he initially met as a family friend, had sexually and mentally abused him for some time:
“For the entire period when I was almost 15 until I got arrested, I was sexually abused by John Muhammad.”
“The main reason I’m coming forward now is because I am more mature.”
“As far as the guilt that I carried around for several years, I dealt with that to a large extent for years. And now, I can handle this. In here, there’s no therapy. Rehabilitation is just a word. In solitary confinement, in a cell by yourself, I am priest, doctor, therapist. So, it’s just worked out that I just took it off piece by piece. That I could handle it.”
He also shared that he had forgiven himself for the murders he helped commit:
“Please do not allow my actions and the actions of Muhammad to hold you hostage and continue to victimize you for the rest of your life.
“If you give those images and thoughts that power, it will continue to inflict that suffering over and over and over and over again. Do not give me or him that much power.”
32-year-old Malvo has been serving time at the Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison. His case will return to the state court, but there’s still a possibility that he will be sentenced to life again.