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D.C. Sniper Tells Jury of Lethal Bomb Plots

Malvo, convicted in Virginia, testifies in Maryland about plans with his elder partner.

May 24, 2006|Andrea F. Siegel and Julie Scharper | The Baltimore Sun

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo told jurors Tuesday that had he and John Allen Muhammad not been caught, the pair planned to make Baltimore the center of a murderous campaign in which they would use explosives against children and police.

Malvo, 21, said the scheme was "Phase 2" of a plan to kill a police officer with a weapon other than the .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle the pair had been using in the Washington area sniper rampage in 2002, then set off explosives against mourners.

"Then dozens of officers would get to the funeral and you would have improvised explosives," Malvo said.

More explosives would target ambulances that rushed to the scene of the carnage, Malvo told a full and hushed courtroom. That and a plan to kill three busloads of schoolchildren were to begin Oct. 24, 2002, but were thwarted by the pair's arrest at an Interstate 70 rest stop near Frederick, Md.

They had planned to leave the rest stop after Muhammad's nap to shoot their final sniper victim outside an Outback steakhouse in Frederick before turning to Baltimore. But Malvo fell asleep on his job of keeping watch.

On Tuesday, more than three years after the arrest and more than two years after Malvo and Muhammad were tried and convicted in sniper shootings in Virginia, Malvo publicly gave his insider account of the slayings.

Muhammad told him their reign of terror would lead the government to cede to their $10-million extortion demand, Malvo testified. He said Muhammad's plan was to use the money to create a community in Canada to train 140 children as terrorists to carry out shooting rampages across the country and destroy the economy by killing 10 people a day.

Self-identified as the junior member of the sniper duo, Malvo gave an account that is a polar opposite of Muhammad's claim that both men are innocent of the six murder charges for which he is on trial. Malvo has agreed to plead guilty and accept six life sentences without parole in those killings.

Prosecutors in Maryland have said they wanted a second trial in case the Virginia conviction is overturned on appeal.

"I think he's a coward," Malvo said of the man he once called "father." Then he turned and calmly spoke directly to Muhammad: "You took me into your house and made me a monster. You fed me, you clothed me and you made me your child."

When Deputy State's Atty. Katherine Winfree asked the young Jamaican his motive for testifying, he replied, "I'm here just to tell the story, to tell the truth, to face Muhammad and for whatever it's worth, if anything," he paused and sighed deeply, "for the victims."

"I'm not proud of myself. I'm just trying to make amends if possible," Malvo said.

Malvo's chilling story was the most dramatic testimony so far in the 12 days of the trial, as he outlined subplots that never came to fruition in Muhammad's grand scheme -- revealing a far more expansive plot than previously had been made public.

Malvo's testimony revealed that the 13 sniper shootings were supposed to have been six shootings a day for 30 days.

Malvo testified that he backed down from Muhammad's plan to kill a pregnant woman.

Even though he was aiming toward a fast-food restaurant and saw four pregnant women, Malvo said, "I just couldn't take the shot."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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