Lee Boyd Malvo, who as a teenager took part in one of the most terrifying serial sniper murder cases in US history, will be going back to court after a federal judge Friday threw out two life sentences on constitutional grounds.
In 2002, Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad killed 10 people and injured others in a multi-day shooting spree in Maryland and Virginia.
Muhammad was executed in 2009 for the killings.
Malvo, now 32, was convicted in one trial in Virginia and entered an Alford plea in another.
He was 17 at the time of the murders and one of two people convicted in the Beltway area sniper attacks. In 2016, the court also decided that ruling could be retroactively applied to cases.
U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Jackson, in a rare move, sent Malvo's case back to state courts in Chesapeake and Spotslvania County in Virginia for resentencing.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Malvo as well, for the slaying in Fairfax County, Va., of Linda Franklin outside a Home Depot in the Falls Church area.
The attorney general's office argued unsuccessfully that the Supreme Court rulings should not apply to Malvo.
In 2013, he appealed to the court for a new sentence in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama, which held that juveniles must be treated differently in sentencing "because [they] have diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform". Muhammad was executed via lethal injection on November 10, 2009. Investigators later said Muhammad meant to kill his ex-wife, who lived in the Washington area. "But if he's going to be let out in my lifetime, I'm not comfortable with that".
Jackson agreed with Malvo, finding Friday that he had unknowingly given up his Eighth Amendment rights.
Malvo has been serving his sentence at Red Onion state prison in southwest Virginia.