Malvo Jury to Begin More Deliberations

Fox News/December 18, 2003

Chesapeake, Va. -- Jurors deliberating in the capital murder trial of sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo (search) had questions which, for the most part, remained unanswered.

First, they asked if they again could see the Chevrolet Caprice the snipers allegedly used for last year's shooting spree around Washington, D.C., that left 10 people dead and three wounded. The car had a modified back seat that could lift up and allow access to the trunk.

The jury also sought clarification of the definition of malice, a necessary element to a murder conviction. The definition provided in the jury instructions is "an intentional doing of a wrongful act ... at a time when the mind of the actor is under control of reason." The note said they have specific trouble with the phrase "under the control of reason."

The questions came after the jury deliberated seven hours Wednesday. They were set to resume Thursday.

Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush denied the request about the Caprice, saying "we really don't want the jurors pawing through" the car.

Roush also ruled that the jurors would have to use the common-sense definitions of "control of reason," and she can provide no further guidance.

Malvo's lawyers have presented an insanity defense, saying brainwashing by John Allen Muhammad (search) left Malvo incapable of knowing right from wrong.

Prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. (search) said he is concerned that the jury is unnecessarily confusing malice with insanity and wanted to clarify that. But the defense lawyers argued that sanity is a legitimate issue when debating whether Malvo's actions amounted to malice.

"Malice is a state-of-mind issue and it's affected by sanity," Malvo lawyer Craig Cooley said.

Malvo, 18, is charged with the Oct. 14, 2002, slaying of FBI analyst Linda Franklin during a three-week rampage in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Malvo is charged twice with capital murder in Franklin's slaying under two different theories. One alleges that Malvo committed multiple murders in a three-year period. The second charge alleges that the Franklin killing was an act of terrorism.

On each charge, the jury has the option of convicting Malvo on capital murder or a lesser charge of first-degree murder. The punishment for capital murder is either a death sentence or life in prison without parole. For first-degree murder, it ranges from 20 years to life.

The jury must conclude that Malvo pulled the trigger in Franklin's slaying to convict him of capital murder under the multiple murder charge. Malvo initially confessed to being the triggerman but recanted several months later.

Malvo need not be the triggerman to be convicted of capital murder under the terrorism statute, but the jury must conclude that the killing was designed to intimidate the government. Prosecutors say the snipers' demand for a $10 million payment from the government amounts to terrorism.

Muhammad, 42, was convicted of capital murder last month and the jury recommended he be put to death.

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