The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider a Virginia appeal to reinstate the life-without-parole sentence for one of the convicted ‘Beltway Snipers’ who terrorized the Washington, D.C., region in 2002.
The justices on Monday said that they would take up the state’s appeal in the case of Lee Boyd Malvo, after a Virginia appeals court ruled last year that he should be resentenced because of subsequent Supreme Court decisions that altered the rules for juvenile offenders.
Malvo, who was 17 years old when he and John Allen Muhammed shot and killed 10 people during a three-week period in Maryland, Virginia and Washington more than a decade ago, was sentenced to life without parole in all three states. Muhammad was sentenced to death and executed in 2009.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled last year that while Malvo’s life-without-parole sentences were legal when they were imposed, Supreme Court decisions later changed sentencing requirements for juveniles. The judges said a resentencing would determine whether Malvo qualifies as “one of the rare juvenile offenders” who can be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole because his “crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility.” They said if his crimes instead “reflect the transient immaturity of youth” he’s entitled to a sentence short of life without parole.
The decision in the Supreme Court case ruled juveniles are constitutionally different from adults for the purposes of sentencing “because juveniles have diminished culpability and greater prospects for reform,” which makes them “less deserving of the most severe punishments.”
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear Virginia’s appeal, and review the decision.
Malvo has been serving his sentences at Red Onion State Prison in Pound, Virginia.
In Maryland, meanwhile, a federal judge ruled that Malvo would not get a new sentence. He is serving six life-without-parole prison terms for the killings in that state.
Fox News’ Bill Mears and The Associated Press contributed to this report.