Malvo's Admission Provides Answers
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Albert Michalczyk wants his day in court. John C. Gaeta is not so sure it matters anymore.
The two men said yesterday that learning of sniper Lee Boyd Malvo's admission that he and John Allen Muhammad shot them months before terrorizing the Washington area provides some solace.
Malvo also told law enforcement officials this spring about two slayings that had not been linked publicly to the snipers. The new cases bring the number of sniper shootings to 27, including 17 homicides.
The report of his confession jump-started investigations of cold cases in at least three states, where authorities received the news with cautious optimism.
It was unclear whether the admission would lead to new prosecutions or plea agreements. Officials in Maryland and Virginia have discussed an arrangement that could allow Malvo to be transferred to a federal penitentiary in exchange for pleading guilty to unresolved shootings, but Virginia prosecutors are firmly opposed.
Michalczyk, 76, watching television with his wife yesterday morning, was startled to see a news bulletin flash across the bottom of the screen announcing the report of Malvo's admission.
"I said all along I was sure it was those guys who shot my husband," Penna Michalczyk said. "We're just all grateful he wasn't killed."
Albert Michalczyk now jokes about his shooting. "I lost a beautiful shirt," he said, laughing.
But the shot fired from afar May 18, 2002, at a golf course in Clearwater, Fla., has puzzled his relatives for years.
"If I had been standing more to my right, it would have hit me right in my breast," Michalczyk said. "Now it's just going to be nice to know who finally did it."
In Albany, La., Gaeta, 54, had to stop shaving three times yesterday morning to answer calls from reporters. "This puts a little closure about who did this to me," he said. "I don't know if we'll ever know why."
He has spent years wondering what made him an attractive target the night of Aug. 1, 2002, as he was changing a slashed tire outside a mall in Hammond, La.