VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The prosecution rested its case Monday in the trial of older Beltway Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad (search).
Judge LeRoy F. Millette Jr. planned to consider several motions after he sent the jury home Monday. The defense is expected to begin presenting its case on Wednesday.
After three weeks of testimony in Virginia Beach, the final prosecution witness was Montgomery County, Md., police supervisor Roger Thomson, who testified that since the arrests of Muhammad, 42, and his alleged partner in crime, Lee Boyd Malvo (search) on Oct. 24, 2002, there have been no sniper shootings in metropolitan Washington.
"No, nothing like this," he said.
The prosecution also called Maria Dancy of Tacoma, Wash., who said Muhammad and Malvo frequently attended a shooting range when they stayed at Dancy's home in the spring of 2002.
She said Muhammad introduced Malvo as her son and that Malvo was obedient to Muhammad.
A George Mason University professor testified that retail sales dropped in the region by about $35 million as a result of the shootings that terrorized the Washington, D.C., region for three weeks. Professor Steven Fuller said that drop in retail sales would cause a loss of $55 million in the local economy.
Malvo and Muhammad are being tried in two different killings. Both face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.
Prosecutors in the Muhammad case tried to convince the jury that Muhammad exerted such control over Malvo that Muhammad should be held responsible for the shootings that killed 10 and wounded three in the Washington, D.C., area last fall. That would keep Malvo off death row.
Over the past three weeks, Prince William County, Va., prosecutors combined emotional testimony from victims and victims' relatives with forensic evidence, including DNA linking Muhammad to a rifle sight found in his car. Although Muhammad is only on trial for one killing the prosecution needs to prove participation in multiple killings or terrorizing of the public in order to send the accused to his death.
"Our strategy is their strategy," Malvo lawyer Michael Arif said. "If you watch the prosecutors (in Muhammad's case) carefully, they will never put on evidence that Lee was the shooter in any of the shootings in question."
Prosecutors from Fairfax County say Malvo has admitted committing many of the shootings.
His lawyers argue that he confessed only to protect Muhammad, whom he called his father, and that Muhammad was the mastermind of the sniper attacks.
Even if that is true, the Fairfax County prosecutors argue, Malvo is equally responsible for the killings.
Edward A. Clarke, director of security for Montgomery County, Md., public schools, testified in the Muhammad trial Monday that for the first time in the system's history, schools implemented a countywide lockdown of all schools, called "code blue."
Some schools implemented a more severe "Code Red" security, locking down every single classroom after hearing what sounded like gunshots. Clarke said the code red restrictions ended when officials determined the sounds were merely a car backfiring.
At various points during the sniper spree, some schools in the county that were especially close to shootings had attendance of less than 10 percent, Clarke said.
Clarke's testimony bolstered prosecutors' contention that the snipers engaged in a form of terrorism during last year's spree, the basis for one of the capital murder charges against Muhammad and Malvo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.