Even though it is sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad on trial in Virginia Beach, Va., his young associate Lee Boyd Malvo is capturing much of the attention in the courtroom.
The New York Times says that although prosecutors accuse Muhammad of directing last fall’s shooting spree, Malvo returns again and again in person, forensic evidence, photographs and testimony as a central figure in the trial.
Yesterday, an off-duty police officer testified she saw Malvo soon after the fatal shooting of Linda Franklin in Falls Church, Va., on Oct. 14, 2002, driving Muhammad’s blue Chevrolet Caprice nine miles from the crime scene.
Prosecutors played a recorded call to the Rockville, Md., police department in which a man referred to the tarot card found at a crime scene. A Catholic priest and a Montgomery County police officer also testified to receiving calls in which a man referred to a liquor store shooting in Alabama. Investigators say Malvo placed all those calls, trying to establish a line of communication with police negotiators.
While Muhammad is on trial, there appears to be more evidence linking Malvo to the shootings.
Muhammad, 42, is on trial in the killing of Dean H. Meyers outside a gas station in Manassas, Va., on Oct. 9, 2002. He could face the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors are introducing evidence from 16 shootings, 10 fatal, to convince jurors he was the mastermind of a scheme to terrorize the region and extort $10 million from local governments.