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Waiting for Malvo

After hearing prosecution, defense arguments, Roush defers ruling on Malvo confession.

Lee Boyd Malvo laughed as he recounted details of certain crime scenes of sniper attacks that left 10 dead and three injured in the Washington area in October 2002, according to testimony from June Boyle, Fairfax County homicide detective.

Malvo is charged in Fairfax County with the capital murder of Arlington resident and FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47, who was murdered outside Home Depot in Falls Church on Oct. 14, 2002.

Boyle testified during a two-day hearing on whether prosecutors will be able to use Malvo’s confessions during his trial. Judge Jane M. Roush will rule within 10 days.

“He was LAUGHING, telling me it was really funny,” said Boyle, who interviewed Malvo for over six hours on Nov. 7, 2002, the day Malvo was transferred from federal custody to Fairfax County. “I asked him where he shot her and he pointed to his head.”

James L. “Sonny” Buchanan, 39, was murdered while mowing the lawn in front of a car dealership along Rockville Pike in Montgomery County on Oct. 3, 2002. Malvo laughed that “the lawn mower was still going down the street,” after Buchanan was shot, said Boyle.

Malvo also recalled a shot that missed a boy, one of his intended targets, during an attack in Maryland. He said the bullet, “came buzzing by him like a bee, it might have even parted his hair,” Boyle said.

Depending on Roush’s ruling, jurors could hear similar details when Malvo’s trial begins this November.

MALVO’S CONFESSIONS were voluntary, argued prosecutors Robert F. Horan Jr. and Raymond F. Morrogh on Monday and Tuesday.

“This defendant is knowledgeable, articulate,” said Horan. “He knows what he is doing and knows what he was doing that night.”

The teenager was tricked into confessing, countered defense attorneys during the pivotal hearing in Malvo’s case. They say that Malvo never waived his right to counsel and never waived his right to remain silent.

The U.S. Supreme Court emphasizes distinctions between juveniles and adults when considering the validity of confessions, they say.

“There is higher scrutiny when we talk about Constitutional rights, waivers and juveniles,” argued Mark Petrovich, one of Malvo’s attorneys.

BOYLE READ MALVO his Miranda rights approximately an hour after Fairfax police gave Malvo his requested meal of two veggie burgers and water. Malvo was asked if he understood the Miranda rights at least four different times, according to Horan and Boyle.

“He was 17, just shy of his 18th birthday, I wanted to make sure he understood he had a right to remain silent,” said Boyle.

“He said, ‘If I want to answer questions I will and if I don’t want to answer questions, I won’t,” Horan and Boyle said.

BUT DEFENSE attorneys say that before he was read his Miranda rights, Malvo also asked, “Do I get to see my attorney?”

While detectives proceeded as if that was a question — not a request for an attorney — defense attorneys claim that’s the point when questioning should have stopped. Malvo also told Boyle that his attorney told him not to answer questions until his attorney was present.

“It was a voluntary, uncoerced confession. Society should have the benefit of the law allowing it,” concluded Horan in closing arguments.

Both defense and prosecution said they have strategies ready no matter how Roush rules next week.