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21 August 2017 06:34 (South Africa)

US Supreme Court refuses Washington sniper’s appeal

John Allen Muhammad, the  “Washington sniper”, will be executed on Tuesday unless Virginia governor Tim Kaine grants him clemency. The US Supreme Court has now rejected Muhammad’s final legal appeal and the Virigina governor’s options are to allow the execution to take place as scheduled, order it delayed or commute Muhammad's sentence. Muhammad's attorneys argued he was mentally ill and should first have had a hearing to rule on his competence to stand trial.  Muhammad has since maintained his innocence. His accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, a 17-year-old at the time of the killings, is serving a life sentence. During the two men’s murder spree in 2002, 10 people were killed in what came to be known as the “Beltway Killings” throughout the Washington, DC area, panicking the entire region. Muhammad, a skilled sniper, shot each victim with a single shot from a high-powered rifle mostly from the trunk of the killers’ car. Dissenting to the majority ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “By denying Muhammad's stay application, we have allowed Virginia to truncate our deliberative process on a matter - involving a death row inmate - that demands the most careful attention”, although he did not disagree with the court's ultimate decision that Muhammad's petition did not warrant the court's consideration. Read more: Washington Post

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