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Killing in another Montgomery: Murder charges filed

The liquor state in Montgomery, Alabama, where a woman was shot and killed on September 21.
The liquor state in Montgomery, Alabama, where a woman was shot and killed on September 21.

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• Interactive: The death penalty
• Interactive: Police close in
• Interactive: Suspects' trail
• Story: D.C. area victims
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MONTGOMERY, Alabama (CNN) -- A killing in Montogomery, Alabama, last month has led to the first murder charges to be filed against accused Washington-area snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, 17.

Montgomery police plan to seek the death penalty for Muhammad and Malvo on capital murder charges, Police Chief John Wilson said Friday.

Authorities had previously identified Malvo as John Lee Malvo.

Wilson said Friday morning that capital murder warrants "were being signed" for both suspects in the killing of a woman at a liquor store on September 21. He said Malvo would be charged as an adult.

The case was instrumental in leading to the arrest Thursday of the two accused Washington-area snipers. Police said the sniper himself called the task force hot-line last week and boasted about killing before. He told them to take a look at an unsolved killing in Montgomery, law enforcement sources told CNN.

The sniper was referring to the shooting in the capital of Alabama, not Montgomery County, Maryland, where the three-week sniper shootings began. The next night, investigators got a call from a priest who said he had received a phone call from a man boasting of a killing in Montgomery, Alabama, weeks before, the sources said.

A fingerprint from the September 21 shooting in Alabama was tracked to Malvo through his fingerprint records with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In addition, a police officer identified Muhammad from a photo line-up, and Malvo was identified from "other evidence," Wilson said. Johnson did not see Malvo, the chief said, but a second witness placed him at the scene earlier.

Two police officers parked nearby heard the shots on September 21. Johnson chased the man, coming within two feet of him at one point.

The chief also said, "It's our intention to prove Muhammad was the shooter."

"We want to send a very strong message ... this is not what we expect out of civilized society," Wilson said. "We're going to make an example of somebody."

The liquor store is near Interstate 85. Other sites in the Washington, D.C.-area sniper spree were near interstate exits, easy getaways for the shooters.

Wilson said he believes that the pair chose their target in Montgomery "very probably" because the store was near I-85.

Wilson said Friday that "these people got a bizarre credit in doing what they were doing. And I think there's probably some truth to the fact that there was another killing they hadn't got credit for.

"They were bragging or wanted to verify their viciousness. They called and talked about that killing. They themselves placed themselves here."

Wilson said the gun used in the crime was likely a .22 caliber handgun, different from the Bushmaster .223 rifle thought to be used in the D.C. killings.

Chief Wilson said he believes the September 21 shooting was part of a robbery attempt that was interrupted when the patrol car pulled in.

Claudine Parker was killed and Kelli Adams was wounded in the attack at a state-run liquor store where both victims worked.

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