Sniper Trial Begins in Va.; Courtroom Seats Are Precious

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The Virginian-Pilot reports that positions will be at a premium in the 50-seat Virginia Beach courtroom as attorneys give opening statements today in the capital murder trial of accused Washington, D.C., sniper John Allen Muhammad.

Just five seats each day are available to citizens chosen at random by a city-run lottery. More than 1,800 applied for a chance to witness the trial.

The paper reported that Muhammad’s alleged accomplice, teenager Lee Boyd Malvo, arrived in Virginia Beach Sunday and is being held in the city jail, based on a prosecutor’s subpoena. He is not expected to testify but prosecutors may ask witnesses to identify the teen, whose capital-murder trial will start Nov. 10 in Chesapeake.

The Washington Times reports that Prosecutor James A. Willett, Prince William County assistant commonwealth’s attorney, is expected to give a 90-minute statement in the case against Mr. Muhammad, about an hour longer than a typical opening statement in Virginia.

The Washington Post reports the opening statements amount to a “critical gambit” for both sides as the attorneys “seek to make a good first impression on the jury.”


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