The Supreme Court will consider a challenge to the life sentence given to one of the snipers who killed 10 people in the Washington, DC, area, in 2002. Lee Boyd Malvo was 17 at the time of the killings, and the court said in 2012 that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole were, in most cases, unconstitutional for defendants under 18, the Washington Post reports. The court said at the time that such a sentence is permissible only for "the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption." The question now is whether Malvo fits that definition or deserves a lesser sentence, reports NPR.
Malvo received life terms in Virginia and Maryland. A federal appeals court in Virginia has ruled that Malvo should be resentenced, and he is appealing his Maryland sentencing as well. Malvo's older accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, was executed in 2009. In ordering a new sentencing, the Virginia appeals court nonetheless said the string of killings "were the most heinous, random acts of premeditated violence conceivable, destroying lives and families and terrorizing the entire Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for over six weeks, instilling mortal fear daily in the citizens of that community." ("I was a monster," Malvo later said.)