Man Accused of Buying Rifle for D.C. Snipers

A man was indicted Wednesday for allegedly buying a rifle for the Washington, D.C.-area snipers — though not the weapon used in the 2002 random shooting spree.

A federal grand jury indicted Earl L. Dancy Jr. (search), 36, of Tacoma on one count of making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

On a federal form when Dancy bought a .308-caliber Remington rifle from a Tacoma store, Dancy claimed he intended to use the weapon himself, the U.S. attorney's office said. During the November 2003 trial of John Allen Muhammad (search), he admitted under oath he bought it for Muhammad.

Muhammad, 44, and his teenage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo (search), lived in the Tacoma area before heading east and beginning a terrifying string of random sniper shootings that left 10 dead in October 2002. Muhammad is on Virginia's death row after being convicted of the Oct. 9, 2002, murder of Dean Harold Meyers.

Malvo, 19, admitted being the trigger man and has been sentenced to life in prison for two of the killings. He cannot face the death penalty because the Supreme Court recently barred the death penalty for juveniles; Malvo was 17 at the time of the slayings.

The Remington .308, model 700, is not believed to have been used in any Washington, D.C. area shootings. However, in 2002, two men found it sitting — loaded — on a bipod, pointed toward an apartment building in Tacoma. Dancy testified he reported the rifle stolen, at Muhammad's request, after it was found.

Dancy was a friend of the pair when they lived in Washington state.

Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, where Dancy bought the Remington, is the same store where authorities believe Muhammad and Malvo stole the Bushmaster rifle they used in the shooting spree. A federal investigation determined the Bushmaster was one of 200 or more guns missing from Bull's Eye that the owner at the time, Brian Borgelt, could not account for.

Bull's Eye agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by victims and victims' families in the sniper shootings.