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Malvo defense enters threatening sketches

Defense trying to show teenager was brainwashed

From Mike M. Ahlers
CNN Washington Bureau

One of the Malvo sketches entered into evidence by the defense.
One of the Malvo sketches entered into evidence by the defense.

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Lee Boyd Malvo
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CHESAPEAKE, Virginia (CNN) -- Defense attorneys entered several dozen jailhouse sketches by accused sniper Lee Boyd Malvo into his trial Thursday, saying they are evidence of his indoctrination by John Allen Muhammad.

Some of the sketches, posted on the Fairfax County Circuit Court Web site as a defense exhibit, depict police in rifle cross hairs and others containing references to a holy war.

In one of the drawings, Malvo wrote, "Wanted, Horan Dead," a reference to the Virginia state prosecutor in the case, Robert Horan Jr.

In another development Thursday, Judge Jane Marum Roush imposed a gag order preventing attorneys from discussing the case with the media.

Defense attorney Craig Cooley said in his opening statement that the drawings demonstrate Malvo "continued to self-destruct once he got put in jail. ... They're drawn for the purpose of self-destruction."

Malvo's attorneys contend that Malvo, now 18, was turned into a child soldier by Muhammad, 42, who has been sentenced to death for his role in the series of shootings last autumn in Washington, D.C., and outlying areas of Virginia and Maryland.

Malvo is charged with the October 14, 2002, killing of FBI analyst Linda Franklin outside a Fairfax, Virginia, store. He pleaded not guilty to capital murder and terrorism charges.

One sketch included in the defense exhibits shows the White House in the middle of cross hairs, with two missiles soaring toward it. "Welcome to the new war. You are not safe anywhere at anytime," a caption reads.

The wording is reminiscent of an extortion note left at one of the Washington-area sniper crime scenes. That note cautioned people that their children were not safe anytime, anywhere.

Still other drawings depict Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and terrorist kingpin Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden is labeled, "Servant of Allah."

"I, Lee, will die for the revolution, jihad," Malvo wrote.

Some of the sketches depict Malvo in court. One has the legend, "Another day of pretend justice."

At least two sketches portray Muhammad.

And there are several self-portraits, including one mentioned in Cooley's opening statement.

"It's him in his jail cell, and he made himself a little more buff than he was ... but look what he's doing. He's hiding his face, because he's embarrassed. He's ashamed and ... up there above his head is written, at an angle going away from the head, is 'Face of failure,' and down at the bottom here it says, 'Failure means death. Sorry, Dad.' Because Lee considered himself to have failed John Muhammad and their mission."

Cooley said Malvo was supposed to have been serving as lookout as they sat in their car at a Maryland rest stop the morning of October 24, 2002, but he fell asleep and the two were captured.

Gag order

Roush issued the gag order Thursday after prosecutors complained that a letter written by Malvo was printed in The Washington Post shortly before the judge ruled the jury would not be allowed to see it.

Cooley told Roush he did not believe the letter was released by the defense team.

Malvo wrote the letter in August 2002 to LaToria Williams, Muhammad's niece. Malvo had befriended her during a visit to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In the letter, he wrote, "I'm perceived as a walking time bomb waiting to explode." And, "I have a father who I know is going to kill me for a righteous society to prevail."

Also Thursday, a handwriting expert called by Malvo's attorneys testified that Malvo wrote the notes found at three sniper shooting scenes in October 2002.

But a writing impression of the word "GOD" found on the owner's manual in Muhammad's 1990 Caprice was written by someone other than Malvo, expert Larry F. Ziegler testified.

The testimony appeared to be an attempt by Malvo's attorneys to show that the 18-year-old sniper suspect was coached when writing the notes. The word "GOD" was found in all three sniper notes.

Ziegler testified that Malvo wrote the notes found on a tarot card after the October 7, 2002, shooting of Iran Brown at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Maryland; a note left after the October 19 shooting of Jeffrey Hopper outside a Ponderosa restaurant in Ashland, Virginia; and a note left after the October 22 shooting of Ride-On bus driver Conrad Johnson in Aspen Hill, Maryland.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Horan, Ziegler said he was not able to determine the age of the handwriting impressions found in the car.

'Separation process'

In other defense testimony Thursday, social worker Carmeta Albarus said she worked with Malvo for more than 70 hours since his arrest and chronicled what she said was a change in his attitudes.

Malvo was "consumed" by the issue of racial inequality, injustice and oppression, Albarus said.

She said Malvo revealed his plan to use $10 million to build a compound for 70 boys and 70 girls who would be "super children" trained by Malvo and Muhammad.

She also said that Malvo signed his name as John Lee Muhammad, insisted on being called that name, and insisted that she acknowledge that he was Muhammad's son.

Malvo was persistent in his defense of Muhammad, telling Albarus, "They want to use me to kill my dad."

To gain his trust, Albarus said, she spoke with a Jamaican accent and made regular visits to Malvo but was initially struck by the fact he did not have "even the trace" of a Jamaican accent.

"He understood me, but he responded with an American accent."

"I became an ally. He saw me as different," she said. "I wanted to see if ... his Jamaican identity was totally erased."

Albarus traveled to Jamaica and returned with an audiotape of an interview with Leslie Malvo, Lee Malvo's father, that "had a profound effect on Lee," she said.

"Lee reverted to his Jamaican accent," she said.

And when Leslie Malvo became emotional on the tape, Lee became "teary-eyed."

During a later telephone call with his real father, Lee Malvo started by calling him "sir" but switched to "Dada," she said, and Malvo became panicky when the call broke off because of transmission problems.

Cooley said the testimony was evidence of the "separation process" -- separating from Muhammad.

Malvo's intelligence tested

A defense psychologist testified that Malvo has an IQ of 98, which places him "almost smack in the middle of the average range." He said a battery of tests showed the 18-year-old is slow at processing information.

"Ninety percent or more of people his age would outperform Mr. Malvo" in one test that measured the speed of processing information, said David Schretlen, a neuropsychologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Schretlen said possible explanations could include depression, a delay in neurological maturation or a dissociative disorder.

Under cross-examination by Horan, Schretlen said there was nothing in the test results to indicate that Malvo suffered from psychosis.

The testimony followed a clash between attorneys on a key issue in the case -- whether the suspect was insane during the October 2002 Washington-area shootings.

Outside the presence of the jury, Horan said reports from a defense expert do not say Malvo was unable to distinguish right from wrong.

"Either you are or you are not [insane]," Horan said. "He [the expert] doesn't say he [Malvo] was insane. He says severely impaired. ... That falls short."

He called Malvo's insanity claims "a puff of smoke."

Cooley has argued that there is no statutory definition of insanity and that two experts will testify that Malvo was insane.

The judge said she wants to hear from the experts before they testify in front of the jury, presumably to determine the admissibility of their testimony.


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