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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
Muhammad v. Commonwealth
Citation:269 Va. 451, 611 S.E.2d 537.
Over a period of 47 days, from September 5 to October 22, 2002, there were 16 shootings, in which ten people were murdered and six more suffered gunshot wounds.
The defendant and Lee Boyd Malvo were captured by the FBI. They were in a modified car purchased by the defendant that had a hole in the trunk to allow someone to shoot out of it. Additionally, a rifle that was connected the shootings was found inside of the car and had Malvo’s fingerprints on it. Walkie talkies, telescopes, GPS equipment, pocket recording equipment, and a paper with a list of schools and the Sniper Task Force’s phone number was also found. At trial, an expert in sniper methodology testified that that the evidence found by the police is ordinarily used by a sniper team. The state presented more compelling evidence that the defendant and Malvo acted together as a sniper team to commit these shootings.
The defendant was convicted of multiple counts of capital murder. He appealed, arguing that there was no evidence that he was the triggerman. As such, he argued that only the immediate perpetrator of a homicide, the one who fired the fatal shot, and not a principal in the second degree, may be convicted of capital murder.
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Topic Refresher CourseConspiracy; Introduction to Homicide and Murder Part 1
Topic Charts & NotesHomicide Chart