A federal judge dismissed the four life sentences given to Lee Boyd Malvo for his role in the 2002 Virginia sniper shootings. Malvo was only 17 at the time, which is why the judge vacated the life sentences and ordered new sentencing hearings, the Washington Post reported.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole were unconstitutional for juveniles, and in 2016 the court decided that ruling should be applied retroactively. And so even though Malvo entered pleas in Spotsylvania County, Va., and agreed to serve two life sentences without parole, in addition to being convicted by a jury and sentenced to two life sentences in Chesapeake, Va., U.S. District Court Judge Raymond A. Jackson vacated all four sentences and ordered resentencings.
The ruling does not apply to the six life sentences Malvo received in Maryland after he pleaded guilty to six murder charges there. His Maryland lawyers are appealing in both state and federal court on the same grounds, and a hearing is set for next month.
However, the federal judge’s ruling only applies to his sentences in Virginia. It does not apply to the six life sentences Malvo received for pleading guilty to six murders in Maryland. His lawyers are appealing those on the same grounds, the Post reported.
According to the Post, this does not vacate his convictions and he can still be given life sentences. He and John Allen Muhammad were convicted of 10 murders in a three-week period in and around Washington D.C. Muhammad was sentenced to death and was executed in 2009.