Malvo Jury Choice Near, Muhammad Defense Begins


A jury may be chosen today today in Chesapeake, Va., to hear the case of Washington, D.C., sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo, 18. Judge Jane M. Roush excused 41 potential after they explained why they could not sit on a trial that is expected to run through the Christmas holidays.

The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot said Roush was “pleasantly surprised” by the number of potential jurors who did not give excuses. “That’s not too bad out of 150,” she noted. “Everybody is very civic-minded here in Chesapeake, apparently.”

“We will put on evidence as to his state of mind and whether he suffered from the mental disease of indoctrination,” defense attorney Craig S. Cooley told one panel. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. objected at one point, saying that “the question is not whether he had been indoctrinated, the question is whether he was so indoctrinated, he did not know right from wrong.”

In nearby Virginia Beach, the prosecution yeterday finished its case against the other sniper defendant, John Allen Muhammad. The Virginian-Pilot says that “in 14 days of testimony, spread over four weeks, jurors heard a complex, circumstantial case against a man suspected of a string of random slayings with no eyewitnesses.”

Prosecutors presented 154 witnesses and 400-plus exhibits. People from around the country testified about a spree prosecutors say was conceived on the West Coast and carried out in the Deep South and mid-Atlantic. Jurors heard about investigative techniques, such as how fingerprints are detected using a gas made from Superglue and how DNA rubs off when a finger drags down the sealing ridge of a Ziplock baggie. From victims and family members, they saw a trail of grief that spans race, gender, age, and professional lines, as well as state and international boundaries.


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