Chesapeake, Va., jurors in the case against sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo heard a taped interview yesterday in which he said he was the sole shooter and boasted he was prepared to kill many more. Prosecutors and defense lawyers held widely divergent interpretations of the tape, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. believes the comments are compelling evidence that Malvo is a cold-blooded killer who speaks of the killings with apparent pride and little remorse. Defense lawyer Craig S. Cooley, who asserts Malvo is not guilty by reason of insanity, said the interview amounts to little more than the dubious musings of a young man brainwashed by accomplice John Allen Muhammad.
On the tape, Malvo, then 17, said he was ready to shoot enough people to force the government to declare martial law and cripple the economy along a panicked East Coast. He believed that business leaders would pay him and Muhammad millions if the government balked.
Horan played the one-hour, 20-minute tape for jurors. Malvo, now 18, is charged with capital murder in the shooting death of 47-year-old Linda Franklin outside a Home Depot store in northern Virginia on Oct. 14, 2002.
Muhammad’s trial in Virginia Beach, Va., is in its penalty phase, with jurors deciding if she should be executed or spend life in prison.