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No verdict on 1st day of Malvo deliberations

The fate of Lee Boyd Malvo is now in the hands of the jury.
The fate of Lee Boyd Malvo is now in the hands of the jury.

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The case of sniper defendant Lee Boyd Malvo went to jurors with the defense arguing the teenager was under the spell of John Allen Muhammad. CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports (December 17)
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Lee Boyd Malvo is charged with three counts: Terrorism, capital murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all three charges. A look at the possible verdicts and punishments:

• Guilty
• Guilty of murder in the first degree
• Not guilty
• Not guilty by reason of insanity
Capital murder (Killing more than one person in a 3-year period)
• Guilty
• Guilty of murder in the first degree
• Not guilty.
• Not guilty by reason of insanity
Use of a firearm in the commission of a felony
-- Guilty.
-- Not guilty.
-- Not guilty by reason of insanity.

• Terrorism is punishable by either death or life without parole.
• Capital murder is punishable by either death or life without parole.
• First-degree murder is punishable by 20 years to life. 
• Use of a firearm has a mandatory three-year sentence.
Lee Boyd Malvo
John Allen Muhammad

CHESAPEAKE, Virginia (CNN) -- Jurors deciding the fate of Washington, D.C.-area sniper defendant Lee Boyd Malvo ended their first day of deliberations Wednesday with a series of questions for the judge, but no verdict.

Fairfax County Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush said she would work on coming up with answers to the questions overnight before bringing back the jury Thursday morning.

Roush said at least one of the questions was about the definition of a word, and she cautioned jurors that they were not allowed to look up the definition themselves.

Jurors began deliberations Wednesday in Malvo's murder trial, pondering the argument made by his lawyers that he was under the control of John Allen Muhammad, who has already been convicted in one of the shootings.

Malvo, now 18, faces terrorism, capital murder and weapons charges in the October 2002 killing of Linda Franklin outside a Home Depot in Fairfax County, Virginia. He could be sentenced to death if convicted after the five-week trial.

Malvo has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Though he admitted taking part in the attacks in statements to police after his arrest, Malvo's lawyers said the youth had been molded into a killer by Muhammad.

In closing arguments held Tuesday, defense attorney Michael Arif told jurors a that Malvo's confession was "not believable." He said Malvo took the fall to take the heat off Muhammad, the man he came to see as his father.

"Lee Malvo is gone," Arif said. "What you have now ... you have John Muhammad junior."

But prosecutor Robert Horan Jr. told jurors that argument was a "smokescreen."

"The real issue here is October 14, 2002, when he sighted that rifle across that highway and shot Linda Franklin in the head, did he know it was wrong?" Horan said. "We submit that he did."

Franklin was one of 10 people killed in the sniper attacks that terrified Washington and outlying areas that month. Other attacks left three people wounded.

Wednesday morning, defense attorneys argued unsuccessfully to exclude any testimony about sniper attack victims other than Franklin in sentencing proceedings if Malvo is convicted. Prosecutors said they intend to present victim impact testimony from some of the other killings that occurred during October of 2002.

Last month, a jury in nearby Virginia Beach convicted Muhammad of capital murder and terrorism in his role in the sniper attacks. The jury in that case recommended the death penalty, but formal sentencing will not be held until February.

Defense argues against death penalty

In his closing arguments, Arif took a shot against the imposition of a death penalty, saying "the pain inflicted" on victims and families in the sniper shootings "is inexcusable" but "adding another life to that pile of death is not going to solve anything."

He noted that one psychologist who examined Malvo in jail characterized Malvo as "goofy," saying he smiled inappropriately.

"He's facing potentially the death penalty and he's making lawnmower sounds," Arif said. "Something's wrong."

In his closing, Arif put together a case implicating Muhammad as the leader and mastermind of the crime spree.

Of Malvo's confession to police, Arif told jurors "it is not believable" and "frankly, it's bull. It's not real. It's nonsense. He's putting the blame on himself" to take the heat off Muhammad.

Arif said Muhammad slowly indoctrinated Malvo by isolating him from family and friends.

Muhammad also indoctrinated Malvo by using rigorous exercise, controlling his diet and personal hygiene, exposing him to violence, playing audiotapes under Malvo's pillow as he slept, and encouraging him to suppress his feelings.

"Right was what John Muhammad said it was. Wrong was what John Muhammad said," Arif said. "Did he (Malvo) know the acts were illegal? Probably. But that was not what was important. Right or wrong is what John Muhammad said it was.

"Lee could no more separate from John Muhammad than you could separate from your shadow on a sunny day," Arif told jurors.

Prosecutor: Malvo, Muhammad equally responsible

Earlier, prosecutor Robert Horan Jr. told jurors the evidence is "overwhelming" that Malvo was the shooter, saying that Malvo's confession to police weeks after his arrest is more credible than the statements he made "after months with the mental health crowd."

In a dramatic flourish, Horan played portions of Malvo's tape-recorded confession following his October 2002 arrest, and showed a color photo of Franklin laying on the parking lot of the Home Depot store with half of her head missing.

"He intended to hit her in the head. That's what he said. That's what he did," said Horan.

Horan told jurors that some things in the trial are "not seriously in dispute."

"No. 1 is that the killing of Linda Franklin, no matter how you carve it up, the killing of Linda Franklin was a willful, deliberate and premeditated killing."

"These killings, on the evidence in front of you, were done for money. They killed all of these people essentially for money. That's why they did it," Horan said of Malvo and Muhammad. "They wanted to have enough bodies out there that the government would pay attention to them and give them the money.

Concerning the insanity defense, Horan said, "We don't ask you to leave your common sense on the front steps of this courthouse. You're allowed to take your common sense into that jury room with you.

"He (Malvo) was the one looking down the barrel of that weapon. He was the one firing those shots.

"Members of the jury, there is no such thing as a good murder. They don't make them. They're all bad. But some are worse than most. And we submit to you, this one is bad as any."

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