March 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether a gunman in the 2002 Beltway Sniper case should receive a new sentence because he was a teenager at the time.
The random shootings terrorized the Washington, D.C., area in September and October 2002 and killed 10 people. Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad were ultimately captured and convicted of the sniper killings. Muhammad was executed in 2009 and Malvo is serving six consecutive life sentences. At the time of the shootings, Malvo was 17.
The Supreme Court issued a writ of certiorari Monday to hear the appeal next term.
At issue is a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that said juveniles cannot be given mandatory life-without-parole sentences unless they committed murder or were determined permanently incorrigible.
A Virginia court last year vacated Malvo's sentences and asked a trial court to rule on whether his crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility or "the transient nature of youth."
Malvo is now 34 years old.
A U.S. Court of Appeals panel called the Beltway shootings "the most heinous, random acts of premeditated violence conceivable, destroying lives and families and terrorizing the entire Washington D.C., metropolitan area for over six weeks, instilling mortal fear daily in the citizens of that community."
The judges said, "Malvo was 17 years old when he committed the murders, and he now has the retroactive benefit of new constitutional rules that treat juveniles differently for sentencing."
Malvo faces life without parole in Maryland, where he killed six people. That sentence was upheld in 2017 and is pending at the state Supreme Court. Muhammad, who was 25 years older than Malvo, smuggled him into the country illegally from Antigua.