Attorneys for sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad are seeking to hire defense experts and keep them secret from prosecutors.

A Prince William County circuit judge is scheduled to hear the request Friday.

A similar request by Muhammad's alleged accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, was denied Thursday in neighboring Fairfax County.

Muhammad's lawyers contend that identifying the experts could reveal the defense's trial strategy. They say they see the need for experts in the general fields of forensics, mental health and social history.

Malvo, 17, and Muhammad, 42, have been linked to 20 shootings, including 13 slayings, in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.

Malvo's trial is scheduled for Nov. 10. Muhammad goes on trial Oct. 14. Both could face the death penalty.