RICHMOND VA -- A federal appeals court says a sniper serving life in prison after terrorizing the Washington, D.C., region as a teenager must get new sentencing hearings.
Thursday's decision denies an appeal by prosecutors who said they already complied with the requirements of the Supreme Court, which ruled against mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles.
ROCKVILLE, MD. -- A Montgomery County judge upheld the six life without parole sentences given to Lee Boyd Malvo, one of two people convicted in the Beltway sniper attacks, rejecting his defense team's argument that the sentences are unconstitutional.
"The bottom line is, any way you analyze this case, this is a complete loss for Mr. Malvo" said Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy following the ruling.
Malvo was sentenced in 2006 to 10 life sentences in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia for his role in the sniper-style attacks that occurred in October 2002 that left 10 people dead and three others injured. His co-conspirator, John Allen Muhammad was executed in 2009.
"Anybody who lived here in October, during those 22 or 23 days, life was never the same before or since," added McCarthy.
Malvo's defense team argued that he should receive a new sentence because his initial sentence was unconstitutional. They pointed to two U.S. Supreme Court rulings that ruled mandatory life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional.
His sentence was overturned in Virginia, but is being appealed by Virginia Attorney Mark Herring.
But in his decision, Montgomery County Judge Robert Greenberg ruled that the Supreme Court cases did not have any bearing on Malvo's case as his sentences were not mandatory. Greenberg said that the trial judge, James Ryan, weighed all the facts of the case properly and used his own discretion when choosing the life sentences.
"The case opinions that he relied upon don’t apply. His sentence was not illegal and even if the new law did apply to him, and Judge Greenberg found it didn’t, the findings by Judge Ryan would have satisfied even the new law. So, however you analyze it, Mr. Malvo loses," said McCarthy.
Malvo can appeal Judge Greenberg's decision at the state level.