Maryland's Highest Court Rejects Washington-Area Sniper's Appeal for New Trial

Maryland's highest court on Friday decided not to hear a request by convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad to seek a new trial.

The Court of Appeals decision was posted on its Web site, but the judges didn't offer a written ruling of their denial of Muhammad's request for a writ of certiorari.

Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were convicted in 2006 on six counts of first-degree murder in Montgomery County for the October 2002 sniper shootings that terrorized the area. Ten people were killed and three were wounded in the shootings in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia.

Last year, Maryland's appellate appeals court rejected Muhammad's request for a new trial in a sharply worded unanimous decision. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals compared Muhammad to Jack the Ripper, saying he terrorized the Washington region in a fashion similar to the notorious Victorian serial killer.

Muhammad represented himself in Maryland. He based part of his appeal on the claim that he was wrongly prevented from continuing a certain line of questioning of Malvo, who testified against Muhammad.

J. Wyndal Gordon, a Baltimore lawyer who acted as "standby counsel" during Muhammad's trial, said he was disappointed "that no one decided to take a closer look at this case." He said he thought there were several issues of fundamental rights relating to questioning witnesses that were not "addressed appropriately."

Muhammad and Malvo are in prison in Virginia, where Muhammad was sentenced to death, and Malvo to life without parole.

Malvo pleaded guilty to the Maryland charges.