Lee Boyd Malvo, who was convicted for a shooting spree in Washington D.C. area more than a decade ago, has had his life sentences overturned by a federal judge. According to the Los Angeles Times, District Court Judge Raymond Jackson tossed the double life-without-parole sentences Friday (May 26) because of Malvo’s was only 17 at the original time of sentencing.
Jackson’s decision was based off a 2012 Supreme Court ruling making it unconstitutional to issue mandatory life sentences for juveniles. In 2016, the court opted to apply the ruling retroactively, making parole a possibility for thousands of inmates who were sentenced as minors.
Malvo, now 32, has been serving his time at the Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison. Though his case will return to the state court, there’s still a possibility that he will be sentenced to life again.
At the time of sentencing jurors had only two options “death” or “life without parole,” the Washington Post reports. While Malvo got life in prison, his accomplice, John Allen Muhammad received the death penalty and was executed in 2009.
Malvo, a native of Jamaica came to the U.S. illegally and was apprehended by border patrol in 2001 and reconnected with Muhammad not long after his release in January 2002. The two began living in a homeless shelter, and Malvo enrolled in high school before he and Muhammad would embark on a murderous killing spree.
A decade after the 2002 shootings that claimed over a dozen lives, Malvo sat down for what he said would be his final interview on the sniper attacks. He claimed that Muhammad, a family friend, had sexually abused and manipulated him.
“For the entire period when I was almost 15 until I got arrested, I was sexually abused by John Muhammad,” Malvo told the Today show’s Matt Lauer in a 2012.
“The main reason I’m coming forward now is because I am more mature,” he explained. “As far as the guilt that I carried around for several years, I dealt with that to a large extent for years. And now, I can handle this. In here, there’s no therapy. Rehabilitation is just a word. In solitary confinement, in a cell by yourself, I am priest, doctor, therapist. So, it’s just worked out that I just took it off piece by piece. That I could handle it.”
Malvo also stated that he has forgiven himself for the murders, before sharing some advice for loved one of his victims.
“Please do not allow my actions and the actions of Muhammad to hold you hostage and continue to victimize you for the rest of your life,” said Malvo. “If you give those images and thoughts that power, it will continue to inflict that suffering over and over and over and over again. Do not give me or him that much power.”