Beltway Sniper Lee Boyd Malvo had his Virginia life sentences overturned on Friday by Federal Judge Raymond A. Jackson in Norfolk.
Malvo, along with John Allen Mohammed, terrorized the national capital area for weeks in a 2002 killing spree. All told, they were convicted of sending ten people to their graves. Mohammed was executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia on November 10, 2009, for the murder of 53-year-old civil engineer Dean Harold Meyers.
Mr. Malvo, a minor at the time of the murders, was convicted of one count of murder at a trial in Virginia, and entered into a plea agreement in another; in both of these cases, he received life sentences without parole. These were the sentences that were overturned.
Keep in mind it’s Malvo’s sentences that were overturned by this ruling, not his convictions.
Sentencing a minor to life in prison without the possibility of parole was found to be Illegal by the United States Supreme Court in its 2012 decision in Miller vs. Alabama. Judge Jackson had to rule on whether that prohibition is retroactive or not, and he ruled that it is, stating:
[T]here is no evidence to suggest that the sentencing judge considered “whether the juvenile offender before it [was] a child whose crimes reflect transient immaturity or [was] one of those rare children whose crimes reflect irreparable corruption for whom a life without parole sentence may be appropriate.” This is a violation of the Eighth Amendment, as announced in Miller and Montgomery
The ruling means that the state court that convicted and sentenced Malvo must re-sentence him consistent with the ruling and current Supreme Court precedent. Malvo resides at Red Onion State Prison, a “Supermax” high-security facility in southwestern Virginia and is not likely to see freedom in this lifetime. Now 32 years old, Malvo has also confessed to six of the murders in Maryland, among his other crimes.