Malvo letters coach fellow inmate on fooling authorities, escape
The sniper trial of Lee Boyd Malvo could go to the jury by late Tuesday, CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports.
CHESAPEAKE, Virginia (CNN) -- Teen sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo wrote letters to a fellow inmate this summer, coaching him on ways to fool authorities and encouraging him to look for opportunities to escape, prosecutors disclosed Monday.
Prosecutors said the three undated letters were written this summer, at a time when defense attorneys claim Malvo, now 18, had broken free of the psychological grip of his alleged sniper partner, John Allen Muhammad.
Muhammad, 42, was convicted last month in the sniper shootings that terrorized the Washington, D.C. area that left 10 people dead and three wounded. A jury recommended a death sentence for Muhammad.
Malvo is accused of being the gunman in the October 14, 2002, shooting death of Linda Franklin at a store parking lot in Falls Church, Virginia. He is charged with killing Franklin in the commission of an act of terrorism, the killing of more than one person in a three-year period and unlawful use of a firearm during the crime.
The disclosure of the letters came as prosecutors presented evidence challenging Malvo's attorneys' claims that their client was not guilty of the charges he is on trial for because he was insane at the time of last year's shootings.
The prosecution and defense have rested their cases. On Tuesday, lawyers for both sides and Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush were to work out jury instructions.
Roush estimated jurors would hear closing statements Tuesday afternoon, then begin deliberations.
In one letter addressed to an inmate identified only as "Pacman," Malvo writes: "Wherever you settle next, study these motherf-----s, learn security codes, who is careless, and who is a hard ass. They will f--- up. Get a job. Study the facility/prison make a map. Look for security weaknesses. And when you find one, wait for your best chance and leave.
"If I was in population, what the f--- do you think I would be doing -- planning, waiting, looking everyday. I don't know about you, but I'll die trying."
Prosecutors said they obtained the letters after they were received by an inmate at the Fairfax County Detention Center in Virginia, where Malvo was being held. Inmates at the jail are prohibited from sending letters to each other, but Malvo sent the letter to a third party outside the jail who forwarded it, prosecutors said.
The letters were introduced during trial as evidence.
One gave what one prosecutor witnesses described as a "course" in how to feign dissociation -- the mental illness that defense attorneys say afflicts Malvo.
"You must be able to sit at the table with your enemy and not let them know that you 'hate there (sic) guts.' The key to achieving this is the ability to mask your emotions and feelings ... when I say mask I mean control what you say ... to get them to think you are somebody you are not.
"I play the stupid fool," he wrote. "Look at how I act and speak -- everybody underestimates me. They say he can't do shit, look at his ass, and I love that, it gives me the edge I need to study, conquer and overcome."
I play the stupid fool. Look at how I act and speak -- everybody underestimates me.
-- Lee Boyd Malvo
Another part of the letter refers to "og," slang for "older gangster," in what is an apparent reference to Muhammad.
"I've been having some crazy dreams pac! CRAZY. I had this dream, I kept walking up to my 'og,' you know who I'm talking about. Well, I kept trying to talk to him but he acted like he didn't know me, he'd be sitting on the porch of a friends house, we were 'wanted' at the time so I (used to) only move at night you know, he'd be looking me straight in the eye, and deny my existence. It's been dreams like that all week, I'm having crazy dreams, cause they fear me in the physical form so let be known I'm troublesome."
"If you fight them all the time," he counseled in one letter, "they will always be looking at you, but if you never resist, when you do resist, they will be caught bye suprise (sic), never expected it, wouldn't even dream you were capble (sic) of such cruelty..."
"Tic, Toc, Waiting Game," the letter ends. "Patience, study, learn, plan."