Malvo Trial

Opening Statement by Prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr.

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Friday, November 14, 2003; 12:00 AM

The following is the transcript of the Nov. 13 opening statement by Fairfax Commonweath's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. 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.

HORAN: Thank you, your honor.

Members of the jury, as the Judge told you yesterday, I'm Bob Horan, the commonwealth's attorney. I'm going to present this case on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I want to talk to you about what the evidence will be, what the evidence is that we will present. I want to start with the end of the story.

I will start with the arrest of this defendant. In the early morning hours of Oct. 24, 2002, this defendant was arrested about 3:30 in the morning at a rest stop near Frederick, Md., a little city northwest of Washington, D.C. The arrest took place right about 3:30 in the morning, and it took place at an automobile, a 1990 Chevy Caprice, blue in color, tinted windows, New Jersey tags. Mr. Malvo was asleep in the front seat of that automobile. His compatriot in crime, the evidence will show, was John Muhammad.

He was asleep in the backseat. The car was parked and backed in at this rest stop area, and the arrest was effectuated by state, county and federal officers who came out of the woods on the side of the vehicle.

They were led by the elite hostage team of the FBI.

They broke out the windows, one on either side of the car, unlocked the doors, pulled Malvo out of the front seat, pulled Muhammad out of the backseat and placed them both under arrest.

Once they were removed from the vehicle, there were a series of search warrants which allowed the police to search that vehicle. In that car, they found a Bushmaster Rifle, a .223 caliber rifle. It is a military rifle. A lot of people call it an AR-15. It is a Bushmaster. That rifle was in the back area of the car.

You are going to find that this particular automobile was adapted for use as a killing machine. This particular vehicle had a hinge along the backseat so you could slide from the interior of the car to the trunk of that car, and once in the trunk of that car, there was a hole that was cut into the metal of the rear of the vehicle, a hole from which you could shoot a weapon, a hole that was used, the evidence will show, in a number of these killings, but in any event, the trunk of the vehicle was designed so one could hang a bungee cord to the lid, open the lid slightly. One could shoot out the back of that vehicle, pull the bungee cord down. This particular area in the back of the car, the evidence will show, was an area that was used in a number of these killings.

What happened with the arrest on that October morning, a series of random killings of ordinary citizens in the metropolitan area of Washington, south as far as Ashland, Va.? Those random killings of citizens came to an end. All of a sudden, they stopped because these two, this defendant and John Muhammad, had been apprehended.

We will prove to you on the evidence in this case that he and his partner were a team. They were a team whereby one was a spotter and the other was the shooter, and it was designed that way. They planned, did reconnaissance, checked areas, checked escape routes, all designed to kill people at random.


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