Closing Statement by Defense Attorney Michael S. Arif

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003; 12:00 AM

The following is the transcript of the Dec. 16 closing statement by defense attorney Michael S. Arif in the capital murder trial of Lee Boyd Malvo. This is from a preliminary transcript of court proceedings compiled by court reporters Alvis & Cheesebrew, Inc.

THE COURT: Welcome back, members of the jury. Mr. Arif, do you wish to make a closing argument?

MR. ARIF: Thank you, Your Honor. May it please the Court, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Mr. Horan, Mr. Morrogh. I, too, wish to echo the Commonwealth in thanking you for your patience and participation in this case.

I know it has not been an easy task for you. It has been difficult for you and your family members and counsel on both sides of the issue. There is nothing pleasant about this case. There is nothing that is very pretty. The pictures you have been shown are extremely distasteful. As Mr. Horan said, what has happened to these innocent victims is terrible. There is no excuse for what happened to them.

When we came into this court on Nov.10, I think it was, we all asked you a number of questions, and we asked you to keep an open mind until all of the evidence was in. We asked you to listen to all the evidence and weight it carefully. We told you it would be difficult. Mr. Cooley told you and promised you a fair trial and a fair presentation of the evidence, and I think both sides have done that.

I commend the Commonwealth. They presented a fair case.There were things they could have shown you that were probably worse than you saw, and they did not do that. The burden of proof in this case is upon the Commonwealth. They must prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that Lee Malvo committed these crimes.

They made a lot of fanciful arguments this afternoon. Some of them are extremely persuasive until you start scratching them. It is like a lottery ticket. You scratch off the cover and find what is underneath. That is what is in this case. The burden of proof is on the defense in showing to you whether or not and proffering to you whether or not Mr. Malvo was insane at the time these offenses were committed, not last month, not last week, not even on Nov. 7, but at the time these crimes were committed. We told you what we would present to you and I think we have presented exactly what we told you we would present.

I have lots of paper here. Don't worry. I promise I won't keep us here that long.

Let me take you back to yesterday. Dr. Evan Nelson, what did he tell you about? These professionals and questionable veracity. That means they are not totally believable.

These confessions, the confessions you are going to take back with you, while you won't have this, they have been reduced to this. These are the confessions. By the way, not one, not one of which did Lee Malvo have a parent, guardian, attorney or other adult sitting there with him. He was 17 years old at the time.

I'm not going to go through that entire thing. Let's examine what has been presented to you over the last few days.

We discussed how the victims did nothing to deserve what happened to them. The loss to the families is absolutely immeasurable. The crime is inexcusable. You cannot redress the losses these people suffered. My apologizing for anyone is not going to bring anyone back. Adding another life to that pile of death does not solve anything. It does not bring anyone back. It is just revenge. There is an old adage: "If you kill for revenge, bring two shovels."


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