Muhammad v. Commonwealth

611 S.E.2d 537 (2005)

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Muhammad v. Commonwealth

Virginia Supreme Court
611 S.E.2d 537 (2005)

RW

Facts

John Allen Muhammad (defendant) and Lee Boyd Malvo jointly participated in fatally shooting 11 people over a 47-day period. Malvo was the "triggerman" in each shooting, firing at the victim from a small hole in the specially modified trunk of Muhammad's car. Muhammad supplied Malvo's rifle, drove Malvo to the site of each shooting, spotted each victim, and directed Malvo to shoot at the right moment. The Commonwealth of Virginia (plaintiff) prosecuted Muhammad for first-degree murder. Under Virginia law, a convicted murderer was subject to the same penalties regardless of whether he was found guilty of first-degree or second-degree murder. However, only a convicted first-degree murderer could be sentenced to death. The jury found Muhammad guilty of first-degree murder and the judge sentenced him to death. Muhammad appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lemmons, J.)

Dissent (Agee, J.)

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