Supreme Court to review life sentence of D.C. sniper

March 18, 2019

The Supreme Court granted review Monday to a case involving one of the D.C. snipers, who is challenging his sentence of life without parole.

A lower court has ruled Lee Boyd Malvo should get a new sentencing hearing, given he was 17 at the time of the shooting spree. The Trump Justice Department appealed to the justices.

At issue is a 2012 high court ruling that held the sentencing of juvenile homicide offenders to life in prison without parole violated the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Malvo had been sentenced before that ruling, and the justices will now decide whether the 2012 case should apply retroactively.

Malvo and John Allen Muhammad terrorized the Washington area in 2002 with their shooting spree, which saw the two men conduct random attacks at locations around the Beltway. Some residents avoided going out except when absolutely necessary, and some gas stations took to hanging tarps at their pumps to block people filling up their tanks from becoming targets.

They killed 10 people and wounded three, all while taunting police. They had drilled a hole in the trunk of their car just above the license plate so they could fire from undercover, then drive off, eluding authorities and prolonging the terror for weeks.

Muhammad, who was an adult during the spree, was sentenced to death and was executed in 2009.