Malvo lawyers seek to avert death penalty


Lawyers for sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo filed motions yesterday in a Virginia court where the 17-year-old is scheduled to stand trial in November on capital murder charges in the death of an FBI analyst.

Defense attorneys are asking Fairfax County Circuit Judge Jane M. Roush to declare Virginia's death penalty laws unconstitutional. They also are asking the judge to bar prosecutors from telling jurors about the crimes of which Malvo is suspected but has not been convicted.

Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, 42, are suspected in about 20 shootings, including 13 deaths in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and the District of Columbia. Prosecutors have pinned arguments that Malvo deserves the death penalty on his alleged role in other shootings.

The 138 pages of 13 motions and supporting papers include a request for "five or more" investigators. Other motions include a request to limit the number of law enforcement officers in the courtroom during his trial.

Arguments are scheduled to be heard March 3.

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