Skip to main content
CNN EditionLaw
The Web     
Powered by
powered by Yahoo!
Sniper Banner

Sniper case judge may order venue change in Muhammad case

John Allen Muhammad
John Allen Muhammad

Story Tools

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The judge in the trial of suspected sniper John Allen Muhammad said he would announce Wednesday morning whether he intends to change the trial's venue.

Court observers said it is widely expected the judge would order the trial, scheduled to begin this October, be moved to a jurisdiction near Chesapeake, Virginia, where Muhammad's alleged accomplice will be tried.

"I'd say it's pretty clear he's going to change venue," Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert said Tuesday.

Ebert originally opposed moving the trial from Prince William County, Virginia, but dropped his opposition after a judge in neighboring Fairfax County decided to move the trial of Muhammad's alleged accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo. It would be "inconsistent" to move the Malvo trial but not move the Muhammad trial, he told a judge last week.

Judge LeRoy Millette Jr. told court administrators he would announce his decision Wednesday morning.

"We really wanted to try the case in Prince William County, but ultimately, given the prosecution's theory, the nature of the offense last October, it ultimately became clear to us that it would be impossible to do so," said defense attorney Peter Greenspun.

Muhammad is scheduled to stand trial for the October 9, 2002, murder of Dean Harold Meyers at a Sunoco gas station in Manassas, Virginia. Malvo is charged with the October 14, 2002, shooting death of Linda Franklin outside a Home Depot in Falls Church, Virginia.

Malvo, 18, and Muhammad, 42, have been linked to 20 shootings, including 13 deaths, in Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C. If convicted, both could get the death penalty.

Moving the Muhammad trial to a location near the Malvo trail will solve some logistical problems, since the two trials likely will overlap. Muhammad's trial is scheduled to begin October 14; Malvo's on November 10. From the start, prosecutors have realized they will have to coordinate the movement of witnesses and evidence.

Prosecutor Ebert also said last week that he would not oppose allowing a judge to hear the Muhammad trial instead of a jury. The defense once filed a motion requesting a judge trial instead of a jury, but then withdrew it, saying at the time that it might submit a similar motion later on.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Ex-Tyco CEO found guilty
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.