Tucson police say Washington-area sniper Malvo confessed to killing Arizona golfer

Friday, October 27th 2006, 9:44 pm
By: News On 6

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Convicted Washington-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo tearfully confessed to police that he and John Allen Muhammad were responsible for the 2002 killing of a 60-year-old man on a golf course, Tucson authorities said Friday.

A contrite Malvo said he was sorry for the family of Jerry Taylor, said Detective Benjamin Jimenez of the Tucson Police Department.

"He welled up a few times in tears during the interview," Jimenez said.

Malvo spoke to police in Maryland for two hours Thursday after he received immunity from prosecution, Tucson Capt. Bill Richards said. Malvo said the shooting took place while he and Muhammad were in the area visiting Muhammad's older sister, Richards said.

Tucson police had long sought to speak with Malvo about the March 19, 2002, death of Taylor, 60, who died from a single gunshot fired from long range as he practiced chip shots at the golf course. The case had never been conclusively tied to Muhammad and

Jimenez said Malvo lay in the bushes and shot Taylor as he was retrieving a golf ball. According to Malvo, the two decided to shoot someone on the golf course after conducting surveillance in the desert, Jimenez said.

Taylor's daughter, Cheryll Witz, said Malvo's confession brings closure for her and will allow her to move forward. She said she wrote Malvo a five-page letter in June imploring him to talk to Tucson detectives.

"I needed to know. I really need to forgive him. I do believe that he was brainwashed and I do truly believe that he was made to kill my father," she said.

Tucson police Chief Richard Miranda said Tucson detectives were participating in the Washington-area sniper investigation and noticed similarities between those cases and Taylor's.

Richards said Malvo agreed to testify against Muhammad if Arizona authorities bring charges. He said police are still investigating and have not submitted the case to prosecutors.

Muhammad and Malvo were arrested for 10 killings and three woundings in the Washington, D.C., area during three weeks in October 2002. They were accused of roaming the area with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle that they fired from the trunk of a
Chevrolet Caprice at random victims.

Malvo is serving a life term in Virginia for sniper shootings. He is in Maryland awaiting sentencing for six sniper killings in Montgomery County.

The two are suspects in earlier shootings that year in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and Washington state, and news reports have linked them to shootings in Florida, Texas and California.

Both were convicted of separate Virginia killings in 2003. Muhammad was sentenced to death while Malvo was given a life term.

They were sent to Maryland last year to stand trial for six killings in Montgomery County. Muhammad was convicted in May. Malvo, who pleaded guilty, is to be sentenced Nov. 9.