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Judge: Muhammad May Face Second Trial

Sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad (search) lost a bid Thursday to bar a prosecutor from putting him on trial for a second attack in the sniper spree.

Muhammad's attorneys argued that Robert F. Horan Jr. should be removed from the case because of arguments he made while trying Muhammad's accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo (search). Muhammad's lawyers said that during the Malvo trial, Horan made such a strong case that Malvo acted independently in the shootings that they actually want Horan as a defense witness.

The lawyers said calling Horan as a witness creates an inevitable conflict that required his removal from the case. But Circuit Judge Jonathan Thacher rejected the defense request.

Horan told Thacher that he will not take inconsistent positions. He said he will argue as he did before that Malvo was the triggerman in the killing of Linda Franklin (search), but that Muhammad was so intricately involved that he also deserved the death penalty.

"They're peas in a pod, that was what we argued then, that is what we'll argue now," Horan said.

Muhammad was convicted last fall and sentenced to death for another sniper slaying. Horan, who did not try the first Muhammad case, has said a second trial is necessary because of the seriousness of the crime and the possibility that the original conviction could be overturned on appeal.

Malvo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The October 2002 sniper spree in the Washington area left 10 people dead.

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