The Beltway Sniper Case

Overview of the Charges

The Beltway Sniper case involves the conviction of John Muhammad who was an ex-soldier and his accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo. Both were found guilty of one of a series of sniper shootings which occurred over a three-week period in the metropolitan Washington D.C area. Indeed, the culprits killed 10 people and injured 3 others and following a six hour deliberation by the jury, Muhammad was convicted in 2002 for the murder of Dean Meyers who was pumping gass at a Sunoco station in Manassas, Virginia. Evidence indicated that the perpetrators’ vehicle, a dark blue Chevrolet Caprice had been rigged with a hole in the trunk which concealed the identity of the shooter as he fired the gun (, ND). Muhammad was sentenced to death in 2004 and was later executed by lethal injection in 2009. In a separate trial, Malvo who was a minor at the time of conviction was sentenced to life in prison without any possibility of parole.

Elements and Profiles of the Snipers

Several reports indicate that the perpetrators met in Antigua through Malvo’s mother who initially dated Muhammad. The analysis of the case reveals that Malvo grew up in a dysfunctional family and Muhammad only served to assume the role of a father-like figure to the minor. The people who were familiar with the relationship of both convicts admitted that Muhammad was seemingly controlling of the events taking place in Malvo’s life leading to the impression of psychological indoctrinations that was the genesis of the insanity defense in Malvo’s case (CNN, 2018). Moreover, Malvo admitted that at some point that he was sexually harassed by Muhammad due to his domineering nature.

The sniper killings that were executed by the culprits were seemingly random as the patterns of the crime that transverse across gender, socioeconomic and racial lines. Accordingly, individuals started living in fear hence they were unable to conduct mundane tasks such as pumping their own gas or even participate in outdoor activities. The random nature of the killings made it harder for the authorities to track down the offenders and it was only through Malvo’s fingerprint on a document that eventually led to their arrests

The Trials

Malvo was convicted for the murder of FBI analyst Linda Franklin in Virginia where he was slapped with a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. Moreover, Malvo entered a plea agreement for the murder and attempted murder of two people in Virginia’s Spotsylvania County where he received two more life sentences. In 2009, Malvo was given the life imprisonment charge for the six murders he committed with Muhammad in Maryland. Currently, Malvo’s defense counsel appealed for a resentencing of their client following the Supreme Court Ruling in 2012 which deemed it unconstitutional to accord mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles (Stolberg, 2017). In regards to Muhammad’s case, the culprit was convicted on four accounts levelled against him. These include murder with the intent of terrorizing the government, the murder of Dean Meyers, illegal use of a firearm and the conspiracy to commit murder. All these charges culminated in a death sentence which was executed in 2009 via lethal injection.

The Verdicts

Malvo was convicted for the murder of FBI analyst Linda Franklin in Virginia where he was slapped with a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. On the other hand, Muhammad was accorded with the death sentence in 2002 and was executed 7 years later.

Summary of Motive

Muhammad’s intent of committing the crime may be attributed to his radical ideologies following his conversion to Islam. Investigators revealed that he was a terrorist sympathizer and acted out of his anti-American sentiments. Perhaps the greatest theory supporting their motivation is that the culprits wanted to extort $10 million from the government.

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