Federal judge tosses out life sentences for DC sniper Malvo

Image Lee Boyd Malvo

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal judge in Virginia overturned the two life sentences of Washington-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo on Friday, more than a decade after he was originally sentenced as a teenager.

Now, Malvo's case has been remanded back to Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to issue a new sentence.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that mandatory life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles. And in 2016, it said that holding applied retroactively to cases on appeal. Instead, the courts in Fairfax and Spotsylvania must resentence Malvo, on the new standards devised by the Supreme Court in 2012, and he could still receive life sentences again in those proceedings. His Maryland lawyers are appealing in both state and federal court on the same grounds, and a hearing is set for next month.

In the years following his conviction Malvo said he was sexually abused by Muhammad from the age of 15 until the time they embarked on the shooting spree from inside a blue Chevrolet Caprice.

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Lee Boyd Malvo, 32, was one of two men found guilty in the series of sniper shootings in the fall of 2002 that killed 10 people, wounded three others and left residents of Washington, suburbs traumatized. The Virginia attorney general responded that Roush could have suspended some of Malvo's life term. Prosecutors sought a death sentence, but a jury opted for life in prison. He executed for the killing in 2009.

Jackson based his decision on two U.S. Supreme Court rulings. "I was able to move on with my life", she said.

Jackson agreed with Malvo, finding Friday that he had unknowingly given up his Eighth Amendment rights.

Malvo remains at the state's super-max Red Onion State Prison.

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