The defense for accused Washington, D.C., sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo surprised prosecutors by contending that he was insane during the shooting spree because he was “indoctrinated” co-defendant John Allen Muhammad.
Chief prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. of Fairfax County, Va., said a court-appointed psychologist for the defense reported “nothing about insanity,” the Washington Post said. “It’s a late-blooming insanity, if there is one,” Horan said.
Muhammad, 42, and Malvo, 18, have been charged in all 10 sniper slayings in the Washington region last October. Muhammad will go on trial next week in one case.
Malvo’s defense team has argued that he was “under the spell” of Muhammad. “Indoctrination is a form of mental illness,” said one of his attorneys. “The degree of indoctrination was so great, the basis of the issue will be put before a jury.”
Even if Malvo were acquitted on insanity grounds, he would face lengthy hospitalization in Virginia and sniper trials in other states.