A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings. In his ruling, US District Judge Raymond Jackson in Norfolk said Malvo is entitled to new sentencing hearings after the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional, reports the AP. Malvo was 17 when he was arrested in 2002 for a series of shootings that killed 10 people and wounded three over a three-week span in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, causing widespread fear throughout the region. Malvo has been serving his sentence at Red Onion state prison in southwest Virginia. His accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, was executed in 2009.
Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Morrogh, who helped prosecute Malvo in 2003, said he believes Malvo meets the criteria for a harsh sentence. A rep for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said Friday evening that the office is "reviewing the decision and will do everything possible, including a possible appeal, to make sure this convicted mass murderer serves the life sentences that were originally imposed." He also noted that the convictions themselves stand and emphasized that, even if Malvo gets a new sentencing hearing, he could still be resentenced to a life term. Malvo also was sentenced to life in prison in Maryland for the murders that occurred there. His lawyers have made an appeal on similar grounds in that state. A hearing is scheduled in June.