WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether life-without-parole sentences for the primary gunman in a series of murders that terrorized the Washington region in 2002 must be reconsidered.
The justices will hear the state of Virginia's appeal of a federal appeals court ruling that Lee Boyd Malvo should be resentenced because he was a teenager at the time of the crimes.
Malvo was 17 during the shooting spree that killed 10 people in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The planner of the murders, John Allen Muhammad, was executed in 2009 for his role. Malvo received four sentences of life without parole in Virginia and six sentences in Maryland.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that mandatory life-without-parole sentences cannot be imposed on juveniles unless they committed murder and were deemed permanently incorrigible. That ruling was made retroactive in a subsequent high court decision four years later.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit vacated Malvo's sentences last June and asked the trial court to decide whether his "crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility" or "reflect the transient immaturity of youth."
Even if Virginia must resentence Malvo, he still faces life without parole in Maryland for six murders committed there.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court will decide if convicted sniper in 2002 District of Columbia-area killings can get new sentence