Muhammad Convicted in Sniper Case
The capital murder conviction means Muhammad could face the death penalty.
Prosecutors said Muhammad was the mastermind behind a string of sniper shootings and robberies he and Malvo committed in the District of Columbia and several states last year that left 13 people dead.
Muhammad was convicted in connection with the death of Dean Meyers who was shot while pumping gas at a Manassas, Va., service station. Meyers was a civil engineer and a Vietnam veteran.
The first capital murder count charged Muhammad, a 42-year-old who served in the U.S. Army, with committing multiple murders within a three-year period. The second count alleged that Muhammad committed the murders as an act of terrorism, a charge now available to Virginia prosecutors under a new state terrorism law.
The jury also convicted Muhammad on charges of using a firearm while committing a felony and conspiracy to commit murder.
Lee Boyd Malvo, Muhammad’s 18-year-old alleged accomplice, is also standing trial for murder in Virginia. He is charged with capital murder in connection with the death of FBI analyst Linda Franklin who was shot in the parking lot of Home Depot in Falls Church, Va.
Defense attorneys argued that Muhammad was not the triggerman in the shootings. Prosecutors countered that Muhammad had complete control over Malvo and ordered him to commit the murders.
“That is a young man he molded and made an instrument of death and destruction,” Prince William County commonwealth’s attorney Paul Ebert said in closing arguments Thursday.
Muhammad’s defense attorneys said prosecutors had not proven Muhammad directed the shootings, but had instead led the jury toward an emotional decision.
Prosecutors said citizens of the area were terrorized by the shootings, which indiscriminately targeted men, women and children in public areas. Prosecutors have said the snipers threatened to continue the shootings if they weren’t paid $10 million.
Muhammad and Malvo were captured in late October 2002 as they slept in their car at a Maryland rest stop.
Muhammad’s fate will be decided by a jury, which will choose whether to sentence him to death or life in prison.