FAIRFAX, VA. - Lawyers for convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad want to bar a prosecutor from putting the killer on trial again because of arguments the prosecutor made during the trial of teenage accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo.
Defense lawyers Peter Greenspun and Jonathan Shapiro said in court filings released Friday that prosecutor Robert Horan Jr. made such a strong case that Malvo acted independently of Muhammad that they want Horan as a defense witness.
Calling Horan as a witness creates an inevitable conflict that requires Horan's removal from the case, the lawyers wrote, citing Horan's words in the Malvo trial.
"You can talk about John Allen Muhammad all you want," Horan said in his closing argument to the Malvo jury. "Maybe it was his idea, but the evidence stamps this defendant as the shooter."
The motion citing Horan, the dean of Virginia prosecutors with 38 years of experience, is part of the defense team's overall contention that prosecutors have made conflicting arguments against Muhammad and Malvo when it has suited their interests.
Last year, Horan obtained a conviction against Malvo for the shooting of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, one of 10 killings that terrorized the Washington area in October 2002. The prosecutor refuted Malvo's defense that he was brainwashed by Muhammad.
Muhammad is on death row following his conviction last year for a sniper killing in neighboring Prince William County. Horan has pursued a second death penalty trial because of the possibility Muhammad's conviction could be overturned on appeal.