MANASSAS, Va. – Lee Boyd Malvo (search) took the Fifth Amendment on Wednesday when he was asked about his relationship with John Allen Muhammad (search) in the first reunion of the sniper suspects since their arrests 11 months ago.
Malvo spent about five minutes on the witness stand as Muhammad appeared to stare at him throughout the questioning, which entailed only basic questions -- his name, age and date of birth.
Defense lawyers had objected to Malvo, 18, coming to court. They said he could have asserted his Fifth Amendment (search) rights through a written affidavit.
Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert will now submit to the judge a list of questions he wants to ask Malvo. If they are deemed potentially incriminating, Malvo can again cite the Fifth Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination.
An Oct. 7 hearing was scheduled on that matter.
Peter Greenspun, Muhammad's lawyer, said Malvo was called as a witness regarding a motion that is under court seal, and said he could not comment further. He said he did not subpoena Malvo.
Muhammad, 42, and Malvo have been charged with 13 shootings, including 10 killings, over a three-week span in October 2002 in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. They are also suspected or charged with shootings in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona and Washington state.
Muhammad's trial is scheduled for Oct. 14; Malvo's for Nov. 10.
Earlier Wednesday, prosecutors agreed to exclude some material from Muhammad's trial after the defense complained he was questioned improperly.
Defense lawyers are arguing that the entire statement should be thrown out. There was no immediate word on when the judge would rule.
According to Malvo attorney Craig Cooley, legal ethics do not allow prosecutors to put a witness in front of a jury if they have a strong expectation the witness will invoke his constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination, so they deal with the issue in a pretrial hearing.
Cooley said he expects Muhammad will similarly be called as a witness at a pretrial hearing for Malvo.
One other matter was on the agenda for Wednesday's hearing, a motion seeking to bar the death penalty on one of two capital-murder counts levied against Muhammad. Defense lawyers argue that an anti-terrorism statute under which Muhammad is charged is written in such a manner that the maximum penalty should be life in prison.