Death row inmate John Allen Muhammad was transported to Maryland from Virginia under heavy guard early yesterday to await trial with co-defendant Lee Boyd Malvo on six more counts of murder in the 2002 Washington-area sniper killings.
Muhammad, 44, had been at Sussex state prison in Waverly, Va., awaiting execution for a killing in Manassas, Va.
He was picked up at the prison at 1:15 a.m. yesterday and brought to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility near Clarksburg, authorities said.
Malvo, 20, is being held at the same Montgomery County jail while awaiting trial in Maryland. He received a life sentence for a killing in Falls Church, Va. Because he was 17 at the time of the murder, he is not eligible for the death penalty.
Montgomery County Sheriff Raymond M. Kight said the predawn transport was uneventful but that Muhammad "wasn't very cooperative" during the booking process in Rockville.
Muhammad closed his eyes and turned his face away as authorities tried to take his mug shot and would not spread his fingers to be fingerprinted, Kight said.
"He was generally like this when he was first arrested and charged in Virginia, but he'll calm down eventually," Kight said. "We're used to this kind of stuff."
Muhammad and Malvo were arrested in Maryland, where most of the sniper shootings occurred, but the first trials were in Virginia.
Muhammad rode back to Maryland yesterday in a six-vehicle caravan that included 10 members of the sheriff's Special Response Team and five members of the Montgomery County police SWAT team, according to Chief Deputy Sheriff Darren Popkin.
He said authorities decided to move Muhammad in the predawn hours for security reasons and to avoid Washington beltway traffic jams.
Muhammad was initially taken to the county detention center in Rockville to be booked and to appear before a county court commissioner, who denied bond.
He arrived at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility at 4:46 a.m., said Arthur Wallenstein, Montgomery County's director of correction and rehabilitation.
Wallenstein said the county jail houses about 750 maximum- and minimum-security inmates.
He would not comment on conditions under which Muhammad will be held.
Kight said it is his understanding that Muhammad and Malvo will be separated during their stay.
Muhammad and Malvo are charged in Maryland with killing Lori Lewis-Rivera, 25; Sarah Ramos, 34; Conrad Johnson, 35; James L. "Sonny" Buchanan, 39; James Martin, 55; and Premkumar A. Walekar, 54.
Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler has said that prosecuting the two in Maryland would serve as insurance in case their Virginia convictions were overturned.
Muhammad and Malvo are accused of killing 10 people and wounding three in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia during a shooting spree that terrorized the region for weeks.