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Sniper suspects Muhammad, Malvo face each other in court

Younger suspect expected to plead Fifth Amendment

From Mike M. Ahlers
CNN


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(CNN) -- John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo -- both accused in a series of Washington-area sniper killings last year -- saw each other for the first time in 11 months when they appeared in the same courtroom Wednesday.

They were in court in Manassas, Virginia, for a pretrial hearing for Muhammad, the older of the two defendants. Both were arrested in October last year at a Maryland highway rest stop.

Sources told CNN that Malvo is expected to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Such a move would preclude him from having to appear during Muhammad's trial, which starts in two weeks.

Muhammad, 42, and Malvo, 18, have been charged with 13 shootings, including 10 deaths, during a three-week spree that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area last fall. They are also suspected or charged in shootings in Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Arizona and Washington state.

Muhammad will be tried in the death of Dean Harold Meyers, who was shot and killed while fueling his car at a gas station in Manassas.

Malvo was transferred Tuesday from the Fairfax County detention center to Manassas, officials said.

A member of Malvo's defense team said his lawyers did not fight the appearance but were concerned because they believe Muhammad exerted influence over Malvo, and because this will be the defendants' first face-to-face encounter since their arrests.

"It's my concern that he's going to see the person who has influence over him," defense attorney Thomas Walsh said.

Walsh said Malvo was subpoenaed to appear at the Muhammad trial.

"We put [them] on notice that he will be pleading the Fifth," Walsh said.

Walsh said he believes Muhammad's prosecutors are calling Malvo so he can invoke his right against self-incrimination before the trial, establishing that the younger suspect is unavailable and allowing the prosecutors to use statements that he made after his arrest.


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