Legal Conundrums In Possible Second Sniper Case

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A defense attorney for John Allen Muhammad may try to call Fairfax County prosecutor Roberet Horan to the stand when the convicted sniper goes on trial in the slaying of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, says the Washington Post. Defender Jonathan Shapiro said the prosecutor may be the best witness for the defense because he has told one jury that Muhammad did not kill Franklin.

When prosecuting Lee Boyd Malvo last year in Franklin’s slaying, Horan said, “the evidence stamps this defendant [Malvo] as the shooter.”

Some question whether the older sniper should face a second costly trial in Virginia. “If several people are charged with a crime, the only one who can get death is the one who is the ‘principal in the first degree’ — the one who commits the killing,” said law Prof. Ira Robbins of American University. “If the government can’t prove who pulled the trigger, then you may not be able to pin down who was the principal in the first degree.”

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58809-2004May26.html

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