FAIRFAX, Va. – A judge on Tuesday rejected a request from lawyers for sniper suspect John Lee Malvo to hire a psychiatrist to determine whether the 17-year-old should seek an insanity defense.
Malvo's lawyer, Michael Arif, said he needs a psychiatrist to evaluate Malvo because "we're not certain what makes Mr. Malvo tick."
But the judge said the request was premature. Malvo would likely be entitled to such experts when the case moves to trial, she said.
Malvo is charged with capital murder in the Oct. 14 shooting of FBI analyst Linda Franklin outside a Home Depot in Fairfax County. His alleged accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, 41, is charged with capital murder for the Oct. 9 shooting of Dean Meyers outside a Manassas gas station.
The shootings were part of a three-week spree in the Washington area that left 10 people dead and three others seriously wounded. Both suspects could face the death penalty if convicted.
Also Tuesday, a federal grand jury in Connecticut issued passport fraud charges against a Jamaican man sought in the sniper investigation. Antigua authorities believe Norman Miggil Manroe showed Muhammad how to illegally obtain passports.
Federal authorities did not release details of allegations against Manroe, who was arrested in Bridgeport last week. Muhammad and Malvo lived in Antigua between 2000 and 2001.
An Antiguan task force is investigating Muhammad, a U.S. citizen, for allegedly obtaining Antiguan passports by falsifying birth certificates and supplying the passports to people trying to get into the United States.
In Virginia, the judge denied other defense requests for forensic experts in ballistics, DNA and fingerprinting to help evaluate evidence against Malvo.
Judge Kimberly J. Daniel agreed with prosecutors, who said it was too early in the process to make such requests.
"You're only guessing at this juncture what you need and why you need it," Daniel told Arif.
Malvo's preliminary hearing was delayed from Dec. 5 to Jan. 14 to give attorneys more time to prepare. The hearing will determine whether probable cause exists to proceed to an indictment and trial.