Update: Sniper suspect trials

Oct. 29, 2003, midnight | By Vivek Chellappa | 17 years, 2 months ago

Muhammad won't represent himself; Malvo tries for insanity plea

According to NBC news, the trial of sniper suspect John Allan Muhammad will be put on hold until October 31 due to a power outage at the Virginia Beach Courthouse. Muhammad is on trial for the murder of Dean Myers outside of a Virginia gas station.

This latest news comes a day after Muhammad announced that he would no longer represent himself. Legal experts chided Muhammad's decision to represent himself, and although they applauded his reversal, some feel that irreparable damage has been done to his case.

"My heart sank. ... I instantly thought he must be irrational. It must be a death wish on his part," University of Virginia law professor Anne Coughlin said. "The justice system isn't there to help people commit suicide. It's a search for truth." Legal experts characterized Muhammad's opening remarks on October 20 as rambling.

After a half-hour conference at the judge's bench on October 22, Judge LeRoy F. Millette Jr. informed the court that Muhammad no longer wanted to represent himself. The prosecution's witnesses were two victims who were shot before the sniper spree in Maryland and Virginia. One of the people positively identified fellow suspect John Lee Boyd Malvo as the shooter. The other victim described the trauma after the assault on her outside a Montgomery, Alabama liquor-store.

In the most recent development in the trial of John Lee Boyd Malvo, a judge declined the prosecution's request for more time after the defense announced that they would seek an insanity plea for the 18-year-old suspect. The prosecutors asked for time to consult with mental health professionals and wanted a one-month extension. The trial is set to begin November 10. Malvo is being tried separately in Chesapeake for the Oct. 14 slaying of FBI analyst Linda Franklin.

Both suspects could get the death penalty if convicted.

For a complete transcript of Muhammad's opening speech
Click Here

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Vivek Chellappa. As Vivek beings his final year in Blair, several new hobbies draw his attention: his passion for standup comedy and making lists with only one real piece of information. Vivek has recently developed a strong liking for the works of Mitch Hedberg, Dave Chapelle and … More »

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