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Sniper Mastermind Muhammad Sentenced to Death

Convicted sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad (search) will be executed for his role in the October 2002 killing spree that left 10 people dead in the Washington, D.C., area, a judge ruled Tuesday.

"These offenses are so vile that they were almost beyond comprehension," Circuit Judge LeRoy F. Millette Jr. said in court.

Millet turned down a plea from Muhammad's lawyers to spare their client's life and ordered Muhammad executed on Oct. 14, but that date likely will be postponed to allow appeals.

Muhammad accomplice Lee Malvo (search), who was 17 at the time of the killings, faces his hearing on Wednesday, when a judge will have to decide whether to confirm his sentence of life in prison. Malvo had faced a possible death sentence but the jury recommended life in prison.

Muhammad denied any involvement in the killings Tuesday, telling the judge, "Don't make a fool of the Constitution of the United States of America."

"Just like I said at the beginning, I had nothing to do with this, and I'll say again, I had nothing to do with this," Muhammad said.

Defense lawyer Peter Greenspun said Muhammad is not inherently evil.

"I've represented a lot of bad guys," Greenspun said. "I've represented guys that you look them in the eye and see evil. I've spent a lot of time with John Allen Muhammad and that's not him."

Former Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose (search) told Fox News on Tuesday that the death penalty was "a very good decision."

Moose said he feels that both Muhammad and Malvo should be put to death for their actions.

"Both knew exactly what they were doing, knew the harm they were causing to other people and knew what they were doing was wrong," he said.

A jury recommended in November that Muhammad be sentenced to death for the murder of Dean Harold Meyers (search) at a gas station near Manassas, one of 13 shootings that terrorized the region during a three-week span.

Larry Meyers, older brother of the victim, testified Tuesday that "Dean meant so much to each and every one of us. I'd prefer to remember the good times."

Sonia Wills, the mother of suburban Maryland bus driver Conrad Johnson, said, "Justice has been served today. I can go to my son's grave and wish him a happy birthday this Sunday."

She said he would have been 37.

The judge had the option of reducing that sentence to life in prison without parole, but upheld the jury's decision.

"The judge didn't really have much of a choice," said Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl. "The jury recommended death and the judge would've done something really extraordinary to disagree."

Earlier Tuesday, Millette had rejected a defense request for a new trial for Muhammad. Defense attorneys based their motion on letters that Malvo wrote to another inmate in the Fairfax County jail.

Defense lawyers said they were unaware of the letters before trial and said they show Malvo acted and thought independently and was not under the sway of Muhammad.

Prosecutors said the letters added nothing to the case, and Millette agreed.

Muhammad's lawyers have raised several issues that will likely be primary points of appeal. First, they argue that under Virginia law only the triggerman in a shooting death can be eligible for the death penalty.

The six-week trial never conclusively determined who was the triggerman in the killings, and much of the evidence suggests Malvo was the shooter.

But Millette sided with prosecutors who argued that the triggerman issue is irrelevant, and that Virginia law allows a death penalty in cases in which a defendant can be shown to be "the instigator and moving spirit" of a killing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.