Malvo willingly confessed to shootings, legal briefs say
Apr 22, 2003 | 3:00 AM
FAIRFAX, Va. - Sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo willingly confessed to some of the shootings during a police interview last fall, laughing as he recalled shooting an FBI analyst in the head, prosecutors said in legal briefs made public yesterday.
Malvo's lawyers assert that police manipulated a confession about his role in the spate of shootings that terrorized the Washington area. He and fellow suspect John Allen Muhammad, 42, have been linked to 20 shootings, including 13 deaths, in Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and the District of Columbia.
In the documents, prosecutors say Malvo chuckled as he recalled the reaction of a boy he shot at and missed.
"Evidently, Malvo found it amusing that as the errant bullet flew past the boy's head he swatted at the air as if a bee had buzzed too close," wrote Fairfax County Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh.
"Malvo actually smiled and chortled as he recounted this event."
Malvo's demeanor during the six-hour interview in November proves he was not intimidated by police into a confession, Morrogh wrote.
Malvo's lawyers want the confession tossed out. They argue that they were not present and that Malvo made it clear to police that he did not want to talk about the shootings. A hearing on the confession that both sides agree is critical is scheduled April 28.
In a 40-page brief filed earlier this month, defense lawyers argue that authorities undertook "covert and intentionally deceptive actions" to transfer Malvo to Virginia without the knowledge of his court-appointed lawyers then. They also say that Malvo asked for his lawyers at the very beginning of the interview but that his request was essentially ignored.
Prosecutors do not dispute that Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the Nov. 7 interrogation, asked police, "Do I get to see my attorneys?" and later said, "My attorneys told me not to say anything to the cops until they got there" before confessing. But Morrogh argued that those statements fall well short of the clear demand for a lawyer needed to stop the questioning.
"At best it was an expression of some reservation in Malvo's mind that he elected to reject by waiving his rights," Morrogh wrote.
When Malvo was first arrested, in late October, he said nothing to police who tried to question him.
But when he was transferred to Virginia for prosecution Nov. 7, he allegedly opened up to Fairfax County homicide detective June Boyle, and FBI Special Agent Brad Garrett, who has been involved in many of the FBI's recent high-profile investigations.
"At times during the interview, Malvo laughed or smiled," Morrogh wrote.