Published October 26, 2004
SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. – Lee Boyd Malvo (search) admitted his guilt Tuesday in one of 10 killings in the October 2002 Beltway Sniper shootings in a plea agreement to spare him the death penalty.
Malvo was sentenced for the Oct. 11, 2002, killing of Philadelphia businessman Kenneth Bridges (search). He also was sentenced to a second life sentence for the shooting of Caroline Seawell on Oct. 4, 2002. She recovered from her wounds.
Malvo entered what is called an Alford plea (search), in which he admitted the government has sufficient evidence to convict him.
Asked if he wished to speak, Malvo declined.
Malvo was convicted last year and sentenced to life in prison for the Oct. 14, 2002, murder of FBI analyst Linda Franklin (search), one of 10 sniper killings over a three-week span in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. His accomplice, John Allen Muhammad (search), is on Virginia's death row for one of the sniper slayings.
Malvo's lawyers agreed to drop all appeals connected to the Franklin killing in return for the plea in the Bridges' slaying.
Still, Malvo could face the death penalty in Prince William County, as well as in Alabama and Louisiana, where he and Muhammad are charged with murders in the weeks and months before the sniper spree.
Malvo, who initially told police he was the triggerman in nearly all of the killings, recanted that confession and claimed Muhammad was the triggerman in all but one. His lawyers said Malvo had been brainwashed by Muhammad as part of an insanity defense and that Muhammad was the driving force behind the sniper spree.
Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert, who obtained a death sentence for Muhammad, has said he will pursue the death penalty against Malvo if the U.S. Supreme Court rules this fall that the execution of 16- and 17-year-olds is constitutional.
Malvo also could face a death penalty in Alabama and Louisiana, where he faces murder charges for killings in the months preceding the October 2002 sniper spree in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.