Judge - Malvo and Muhammad 'perfected their ability to shoot'

Thursday, November 13, 2003

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The defense rested Wednesday in the capital murder trial of John Allen Muhammad after the judge said Muhammad and his alleged sniper accomplice "were involved in purposeful shootings."

The defense called five witnesses who testified for two hours, but Muhammad did not take the stand in his own defense.

Earlier, in rejecting defense motions to strike the death penalty from the jury's consideration, Circuit Judge LeRoy F. Millette said an inference could be made that Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo "were not involved in random shootings.

"They were involved in purposeful shootings," Millette said with the jury absent from the courtroom. "They perfected their ability to shoot people. They perfected their ability to escape."

Muhammad, 42, is on trial for the Oct. 9, 2002, slaying of Dean Harold Meyers outside a Manassas-area gas station. Meyers' death is one of 16 shootings prosecutors say were committed by Muhammad and Malvo, 18.

Muhammad and Malvo each face two counts of capital murder, one alleging multiple murders committed over a three-year period and another charging that they engaged in a form of terrorism.

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