WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The two men charged with a string of random shootings that left 10 people dead and three injured in the Washington area will be tried first in Virginia, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday.
The two had been in federal custody since they were apprehended on Oct. 24.
"I have instructed the U.S. Marshals Service to transfer custody of John Allen Muhammad to Prince William County, Virginia, where he has been indicted for capital murder, conspiracy to commit murder and using a firearm in the commission of murder," Ashcroft said.
"I have also instructed the Marshals Service to transfer custody of a juvenile to Fairfax County, Virginia, where he has been charged with capital murder and using a firearm in the commission of murder," he said.
Ashcroft said a decision was made to prosecute the two "where we have the best law, the best facts and the best range of available penalties."
Meanwhile, Atlanta police said ballistic tests have linked a fatal shooting at a southwest Atlanta liquor store in September to the suspected Washington-area snipers.
Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington said a .22-caliber pistol used to kill a 42-year-old liquor store clerk in Atlanta on Sept. 21 was recovered in Montgomery, Ala., near where a liquor store shooting occurred later the same day.
Muhammad and Malvo have already been charged in the Montgomery, Ala., shooting, in which a liquor store clerk was shot to death and her co-worker was critically injured.
Pennington said that the Atlanta clerk saw two men sitting in a vehicle in front of the liquor store. When he went outside to investigate, he was shot three times. His co-worker saw him on the ground and called police.
"The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab determined that the weapon used in the shooting death ... was the same type of pistol recovered from the homicide later in the same day in Montgomery, Alabama," Pennington said. "Forensic tests confirm today that the pistol recovered in Montgomery matched the pistol used here in the city of Atlanta."
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said it was too early to tell what charges might be filed in the Atlanta shooting.
"We have just received this information from the Atlanta Police Department," Howard said. "I have not been in touch with the task force in the Washington area."
Earlier this week, the investigation into the March slaying of a 60-year-old man on a Tucson, Ariz.-area golf course was re-opened after the Washington-area sniper task force determined that Muhammad and Malvo had been in the area at the time.
Maryland police are also investigating whether the suspected snipers were responsible for two other shootings in September, which wounded two people about 10 miles from the nation's capital.
"Innocent victims from Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Alabama and Louisiana have paid the ultimate price," Ashcroft said in Washington.
"It is appropriate, it is imperative that the ultimate sanction be available for those who have committed these crimes," he said.
Fairfax County, Va., Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Horan filed murder charges on Wednesday against Muhammad and Malvo in the Oct. 14 shooting of an FBI analyst in the parking deck of a Home Depot store in Falls Church, Va.
FBI employee Linda Franklin was killed as she and her husband put packages into their car. She was the ninth person killed in the string of Washington-area shootings that began in Montgomery County, Maryland on Oct. 2.
Horan said that Muhammad and Malvo were indicted by a Fairfax County grand jury on two counts of capital murder and a firearms violation. He said he would seek to try Malvo as an adult.