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Co-owner of sniper suspects' car held

FBI agents escort Nathaniel Osbourne to a car for transport to the Genesee County jail in Flint, Michigan.

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Montgomery County, Maryland, will file six counts of first-degree murder against each of the sniper suspects.
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CNN's Kelli Arena examines the possible motivations of sniper suspects John Muhammad and Lee Malvo.
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Montgomery, Alabama, Police Chief John Wilson reports on witness accounts and evidence he says led to capital murder charges against the D.C.-area sniper suspects.
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CNN's Paula Zahn talks to Sheron Norman, the ex-sister-in-law of sniper suspect John Muhammad, about the arrest of her sister's ex-husband.
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• Interactive: The death penalty
• Interactive: Police close in
• Interactive: Suspects' trail
• Story: D.C. area victims
Should the federal authorities take the lead in the sniper prosecution?


FLINT, Michigan (CNN) -- FBI agents in Flint, Michigan, arrested Nathaniel Osbourne -- the registered co-owner of the car in which the Washington-area sniper suspects were captured -- as a material witness, authorities said Saturday.

The FBI issued a federal material witness warrant Friday for Osbourne, said to be a friend of suspect John Allen Muhammad. Federal agents said they want to question Osbourne and don't believe he is a suspect.

"We think he can shed some light on the investigation," FBI Special Agent Linda Vizi said Thursday.

The 1990 Chevrolet Caprice, where the suspects were found sleeping, was registered to an address in Camden, New Jersey.

The dealership title also lists an address in Tacoma, Washington, as Williams' address, Derick Stokes, a spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles said. When the car was registered in Camden, New Jersey, Osbourne and Williams both listed their addresses on the registration as 1400 Sheridan St. in Camden.

That location is a building which houses a Jamaican restaurant on the ground floor and an office and small studio apartment on the second floor. The owner of the building, Mike Clarke, said Osbourne lived there briefly but Williams never did.

Osbourne's arrest occurred a day after Muhammad and John Lee Malvo -- both suspected in the sniper killings of 10 people and the wounding of three others -- were each charged with six counts of murder by Montgomery County, Maryland, prosecutors.

Warrants were issued for Muhammad, 41, under his former surname of Williams and Malvo, 17, whose birth certificate lists him as Lee Boyd Malvo, charging them each with first-degree murder in the six fatal shootings in Montgomery County. (Read the charges against Williams) (Read the charges against Malvo)

Authorities plan to try Malvo, a Jamaican citizen, as an adult, and plan to seek the death penalty for both, according to Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas Gansler.

However, it is unclear whether Malvo could face the death penalty in Maryland, which does not allow juveniles to be executed. Gansler said there may be discrepancies with Malvo's age, and that he may be older than 17.

Joshua Treem, Malvo's attorney for the federal material witness charge, told CNN that two guardians, Andrew Graham and Max Lawten, have been appointed for Malvo, which is standard procedure in juvenile cases.

Treem would reveal no further details about his client or the case, but said he would not be involved either in the Maryland case or in Virginia, if charges are filed there.

Malvo and Muhammad have already been charged with capital murder in Alabama in a case unrelated to the sniper rampage, a shooting that occurred several days before the Washington spree began and that provided the clues that led to the suspects' arrest. (Full story)

The sniper spree began October 2 in Montgomery County. Other sniper attacks took place in various Maryland and Virginia counties and the District of Columbia.

Forensics tests on the Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle -- recovered from the car that Williams and Malvo were captured in while they slept at a Maryland rest stop early Thursday -- linked the gun to the sniper shootings, authorities have said.(More on the rifle )

"These two men terrorized and instilled fear into the very marrow of our communities," Gansler said.

He added that the prosecutors from the seven jurisdictions where the sniper struck met Friday and "remain united" and are "breathing a collective sigh of relief that the two men who allegedly perpetrated the sniper shootings are now behind bars."

"The only outstanding issue at this time is which of the seven jurisdictions is best positioned to prosecute the case first," Gansler said.

Source: Malvo tried to escape

Both suspects are in federal custody, and Gansler said federal prosecutors probably will decide by next week whether to bring charges, which would supersede the state charges. He said there are possible grounds for a federal death penalty case against the two suspects.

Justice Department sources said their primary concern is that the suspects get "swift and sure justice" and the "appropriate punishment," i.e., a death penalty that would not be overturned.

The two men are not talking much about their alleged crime wave, sources told CNN Friday.

Malvo even tried to escape from his interrogation room Thursday by climbing up into the ceiling ducts when his questioners left the room for a time, the sources said. (Profile)

Investigators have found that handwriting samples from Malvo's Bellingham, Washington, high school appear to match the writing in letters left after two sniper attacks. (Copy of letter found in Ashland, Virginia)

Authorities believe the teen may have been the shooter in some of the 14 sniper attacks that left 10 people dead and three others wounded in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Police in Tacoma, Washington, are also taking another look at the February 16 slaying of 21-year-old Keenya Cook. She was killed with a single shot from a high-caliber handgun as she cooked dinner in her aunt's home.

The woman's aunt, Isa Nichols, was Williams' friend. Nichols told police she first met him in 1995 and even worked as his tax accountant for his car repair business.

Suspects pulled over October 3

Meanwhile, the investigation has more ground to cover, including a traffic stop in the middle of the sniper spree.

Sources said an officer from the Metropolitan Police Department in the District of Columbia pulled over Williams and Malvo in the Caprice on October 3 around 7 p.m.

Just hours before, four people had been shot and killed in quick succession in nearby Montgomery County.

The men were stopped, the sources said, because they did not completely stop at a stop sign. The officer ran the license plate number to see if the car was stolen, but it came back clean and no ticket was issued.

Later, around 9:15 p.m., 72-year-old Pascal Charlot was shot in the chest as he walked along Georgia Avenue in Washington. He was taken to a hospital, where he died less than an hour later.

-- CNN Correspondents Kelli Arena and Jason Bellini and Producer Dana Garrett contributed to this report.

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