Sun, Nov 23, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Court hears Malvo tape

SNIPER KILLINGS Murder suspect Lee Malvo freely admitted that he killed a number of victims during a detailed and gruesome interview with a detective

AP , CHESAPEAKE, VIRGINIA

A cocky Lee Boyd Malvo laughed repeatedly during a police interrogation as he recounted some of last year's sniper attacks, saying of one victim, "He was hit good. Dead immediately," a detective testified on Friday at Malvo's murder trial.

Malvo, speaking confidently at times and rambling at others on an audiotape played in court, also said he and convicted sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad selected targets in places with white vans nearby because they knew police and the public were on the lookout for such a vehicle.

And he said he and Muhammad even returned to some of the crime scenes to watch police at work.

"You did what we wanted you to do," Malvo, then 17, told a detective on the tape. "Once you locked onto a vehicle, we made sure that vehicle was there. Made sure we were around them. People are just going to lock onto them."

The conversation with Fairfax County homicide detective June Boyle marks the longest, most detailed account from Malvo about the sniper spree, and sheds some light on how the two men managed to pull off the attacks.

The interrogation began on the afternoon of Nov. 7 last year, two weeks after Malvo and Muhammad were arrested at a rest stop in a dark blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice.

Malvo also discussed the shootings with a detective in Prince William County and a guard at a Baltimore jail, but those conversations were not as in-depth. In all, Malvo talked to Boyle about nine of the Washington-area shootings.

Malvo's lawyers do not dispute that he took part in the sniper attacks, but they contend he was brainwashed by Muhammad and is innocent by reason of insanity.

In nearby Virginia Beach, jurors spent nearly four hours deliberating whether Muhammad should be put to death for orchestrating the sniper rampage.

If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty, Muhammad will automatically receive life in prison. The jury is to return tomorrow.

Muhammad was convicted this week of two capital murder charges related to the Washington-area sniper attacks that killed 13 people and wounded three last year. The jury is deciding whether Muhammad should live or die for killing Dean Harold Meyers on Oct. 9 last year in Manassas.

Malvo is on trial in nearby Chesapeake for the Oct. 14 shooting death of Linda Franklin last year at a Home Depot.

Boyle testified that Malvo laughed when he described the Franklin and Meyers shootings. While talking about the shooting of a 13-year-old boy outside a middle school, Boyle asked: "Why shoot a child at all?"

Malvo answered: "A phase."

Boyle said when she asked Malvo about the Meyers shooting, he again laughed and said, "He was hit good. Dead immediately."

On the tape, Malvo discussed Franklin's slaying with a laugh, too, and said he shot her after she walked into "the zone."

Boyle asked Malvo if he knew where Franklin was hit by the bullet. "He laughed and pointed here, right here," Boyle said, pointing to the right side of her forehead.

Boyle said that Malvo also told her, "A head shot is best" but that he did not shoot 13-year-old Iran Brown in the head because "there were other school kids around."

After her testimony, prosecutors played more than two hours of the taped portion of the interview.

On the tape, Malvo said that the morning after he shot Franklin, he returned to the Home Depot so he could watch police work the crime scene.

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