CNN BREAKING NEWS
Sniper Suspects Being Transferred to State Custody
Aired November 7, 2002 - 12:23 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're following some breaking news involving the sniper suspects. As we just reported, they're looking into allegations now that there may have been a connection to a shooting in Georgia.
But our Kelli Arena, our Justice correspondent, has some other developments she's following right now as well -- Kelli.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we've just learned that the federal district court in Maryland has just dismissed the federal complaint against suspected sniper suspect, John Allen Muhammad, and that he is being transferred from federal custody to state custody.
That's what we have got at this point.
Now, I will tell you that our sources have told us all along that it was fully expected that Muhammad would be transferred to state custody in Virginia, and that there were two counties in particular that prosecutors were looking at to get to try this case first. It would either be Fairfax County or Prince William County. We are trying to find out which jurisdiction Muhammad is being transferred to, but this does show that there is some momentum here.
As you know, there's been somewhat of a jockeying going on as to which jurisdiction would get to bring this case to trial first. We were expecting, perhaps, a federal indictment today against Muhammad. Of course, everything involving Malvo, at least federally, is under seal because he is a juvenile.
But right now, what we do know -- just to repeat -- is that Muhammad has been transferred from federal custody over to state custody as ordered by the federal district court in Maryland.
Back to you.
BLITZER: I am assuming, Kelli, that if he's gone to a state, it would either be Virginia or Maryland. But as you say, the most likely assumption would be Virginia.
BLITZER: Can we...
ARENA: Wolf, we've been told all along by our sources that it just was not going to be Maryland, because the Justice Department was just not convinced that Maryland was the best venue for the death penalty option for both individuals.
BLITZER: So, can we assume that one of these counties in Virginia will get first crack at prosecuting these two suspects if, in fact, they have custody of these two individuals?
ARENA: I do believe that that is the best assumption we can make at this point. Of course, we don't have it specifically nailed down as to which jurisdiction he has been transferred to. When we get that, Wolf, we'll get it right to you.
BLITZER: And as our viewers remember, there have been three shootings in Virginia, in Spotsylvania County as well, right?
ARENA: That's right.
BLITZER: So it's Fairfax or Prince William or Spotsylvania. We'll be waiting -- expecting to hear directly from the attorney general later today. Is that right?
ARENA: Well, there were rumblings that we might be hearing something later on, but we haven't gotten anything official from the Justice Department on that -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Kelli Arena with all of the late-breaking developments -- thanks very much.
ARENA: You're welcome.
And to update this other sniper-related development that we reported earlier on, apparent ballistics match to a shooting in Georgia.
I just want to go to our latest information. The case is under investigation now by Atlanta police, and we have a statement from Sergeant John Quigley (ph) of the Atlanta police. We have a case we're looking into, he says. The Atlanta police chief, Richard Pennington (ph) will answer questions about these latest allegations, a possible link to a shooting in Georgia by these two suspects, John Muhammad and John Malvo.
We're going to continue to follow that story. We'll get some more information at 2:30 from the Atlanta police chief -- important developments on the sniper front.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.