Malvo enters formal guilty plea in 6 Maryland sniper shootings from 2002

Tuesday, October 10th 2006, 10:40 am
By: News On 6

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) _ Washington-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo formally pleaded guilty Tuesday to six 2002 shootings in Maryland, confessing to the carefully plotted string of killings that he has vividly described in testimony against one-time mentor John Allen Muhammad.

Malvo, 21, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 9. Maryland had not sought the death penalty. He already is serving a life prison term for sniper shootings in Virginia.

He spoke only briefly during the short hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court, giving yes or no responses to basic legal questions from his attorney.

The short hearing to formalize his plea contrasted with the two days of riveting testimony Malvo gave in May while helping prosecutors win convictions against Muhammad.

That testimony was the first insider account of the three-week rampage across the Washington region by Muhammad and Malvo as the two snipers shot random victims with a rifle using a beat-up Chevrolet Caprice as cover.

Malvo described the genesis of the plot, saying Muhammad wanted to use it to extort $10 million and wreak havoc. He described how they mapped out shooting sites and worked as a team _ one spotting random victims, the other firing the .223-caliber rifle.

He also laid out Muhammad's grander scheme to shoot as many as six people each day for a month, target school buses and police officers with explosives, and set up a camp in Canada where homeless children would be trained as terrorists.

In all, 10 people were murdered and three wounded during the October 2002 shootings in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Authorities also tied the pair to earlier shootings in the region, as well as sniper attacks in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and Washington state.

Before testifying in May, Malvo also confessed to shooting two liquor store clerks in Montgomery, Ala.

Malvo reportedly told authorities that he and Muhammad were behind unsolved shootings in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and California. Prosecutors and Malvo's lawyers have not confirmed those claims.