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Status of Muhammad's Cases

Wednesday, March 2, 2005; Page B04

Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling means that Lee Boyd Malvo will never be executed for his role in the 2002 sniper shootings. But it does not affect fellow sniper John Allen Muhammad. Here is the status of Muhammad's cases:

• Muhammad, 44, has received two death sentences from Prince William County for his role in the sniper shooting of Dean H. Meyers but has appealed those to the Virginia Supreme Court. That court is expected to rule this week. Muhammad challenged the convictions on numerous grounds, including arguments that a new terrorism statute used in his case was vague and unconstitutional and that he should not have faced the death penalty because no evidence linked him to the actual firing of the fatal shots.

• Muhammad had faced the death penalty in two other Virginia sniper shootings. Charges against him in Fairfax County were dismissed last year when a judge found that Muhammad's right to a speedy trial had been violated. The commonwealth's attorney in Spotsylvania County said he did not intend to prosecute Muhammad unless his Prince William death sentences were vacated. Muhammad also faces malicious wounding charges in Hanover County in a nonfatal sniper shooting.

• When Virginia's cases are concluded, Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) could decide to allow Muhammad to be extradited to one of several jurisdictions where charges are pending. Most of those jurisdictions have indicated that they still would prosecute Muhammad, even if his death sentence in Virginia was upheld.

• In the Washington area, sniper charges against Muhammad are pending in one shooting in the District and six in Montgomery County, all committed within three weeks in October 2002. Montgomery prosecutors would like to seek the death penalty against Muhammad. There is no death penalty in the District. He also is charged in a nonfatal shooting in Prince George's County.

• Muhammad also faces capital charges in killings in Montgomery, Ala., and Baton Rouge, La.

Tom Jackman

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