Sniper Suspect Was Read Rights Before Confession, Detective Says
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) -- A police detective testified Monday that sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo was read his rights before confessing to some of the shootings that terrorized the Washington area last October.
June Boyle, lead homicide detective for Fairfax County, also said Malvo was amused that a shot whizzed close to one target's head and laughed about a shot that killed FBI analyst Linda Franklin.
Testifying at a hearing in which defense attorneys sought to quash the confession, Boyle said she told Malvo numerous times that he had the right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning on Nov. 7.
Malvo responded, ``If I don't want to answer, I won't,'' Boyle testified.
The hearing was continuing at late morning.
Malvo signed a waiver to his Miranda rights, which guarantee the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer, with an ``X.'' Authorities say he may have feared that his signature could be used against him as a handwriting sample.
Describing the Oct. 14 shooting of Franklin, Boyle testified that Malvo ``was laughing. I asked where he shot her. He laughed and pointed at his head.'' Malvo is charged with capital murder in Franklin's death.
Malvo also chortled about a shot aimed at a boy that missed its mark, saying it was so close ``it might have even parted his hair,'' Boyle said. And he laughed about the shooting of a man mowing grass because afterward, ``the lawn mower just kept going down the street.''
Malvo's lawyers argue that he made clear to police that he did not want to talk about the shootings without lawyers present.
Prosecutors do not dispute that Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the interrogation, asked police, ``Do I get to see my attorneys?'' and later said, ``My attorneys told me not to say anything to the cops until they got there.''
But they say those statements fall well short of the clear demand for a lawyer needed to stop questioning. ``At best it was an expression of some reservation in Malvo's mind that he elected to reject by waiving his rights,'' Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Raymond F. Morrogh wrote in court papers.
Malvo and fellow suspect John Allen Muhammad, 42, have been linked to 20 shootings, including 13 deaths, in Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. Both face the death penalty.
Prosecutors have said the shootings that occurred during a three-week spree in October were part of a scheme to extort $10 million from the government.