McLEAN, Virginia (AP) — The CIA has revealed a model of Ayman al-Zawahri’s safe house, used to brief President Joe Biden about the al-Qaida leader’s whereabouts before the agency killed him in a drone strike in Afghanistan.
Shortly after al-Zawahri’s death, White House officials released a photo showing Biden talking to CIA Director William Burns with a closed wooden box on the table in front of them. Now, the contents of the box — a model depicting a white-walled home with at least five stories and three partially obscured balconies — are on display at the CIA Museum inside the agency’s Virginia headquarters.
The museum is closed to the public and access is generally limited to the agency’s employees and guests. The CIA allowed journalists to tour the museum, newly refurbished in time for the agency’s 75th anniversary, as part of a broader effort to showcase its history and achievements.
Most of the exhibits took years or decades to declassify. The al-Zawahri model home is the rare artifact that had been used by intelligence officers just weeks beforehand.
Al-Zawahri was killed in late July, nearly a year after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan ending a two-decade war in which the CIA had a central role. The agency sent the first American forces two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Two decades later, it pulled out intelligence assets and assisted in the chaotic evacuation of thousands of Americans and Afghan allies.
The Biden administration has said the strike shows it retains what it calls an “over-the-horizon” counterterrorism capacity in Afghanistan. Opponents of the administration and some analysts question whether al-Zawahri’s presence in a Kabul neighborhood suggests extremist groups like al-Qaida or the Islamic State are growing stronger under the Taliban, who now rule the country.
The strike was particularly meaningful for the CIA, which lost seven employees in trying to find al-Zawahri, a key plotter of the Sept. 11 attacks who was then al-Qaida’s second-in-command.
They were killed when a Jordanian doctor who pretended to have information about al-Zawahri carried out a 2009 suicide bombing at a base in Khost, Afghanistan. The doctor was working for al-Qaida.
On display near the model of al-Zawahri’s home are seven stars honoring the CIA employees slain at Khost. The stars were previously part of a memorial in Afghanistan that was taken down as the U.S. withdrew.
Other newly revealed artifacts include concept drawings for the fake film created as part of a 1980 operation to rescue American diplomats from Iran, the subject of the 2012 movie “Argo” starring Ben Affleck. There are also crew uniforms and other items from the Glomar Explorer, the Howard Hughes-built ship that served as cover for a 1970s mission to surface a sunken Soviet submarine carrying nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. (The story on the front page of the Los Angeles Times exposing the operation is reproduced on a nearby museum wall.)
The museum also includes some information on the agency’s darker moments, including its role in the ultimately false assertions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion, as well as the exposure and execution of several key spies the U.S. had in the Soviet Union.
Janelle Neises, the museum’s deputy director, says a running agency joke about the collection is that for most people, it’s “the greatest museum you’ll never see.”
The CIA wants to use its history to engage more with the public, albeit on the narrow terms one might expect of an intelligence service. The number of annual visitors to the museum, for example, is classified. Among the known guests are U.S. lawmakers, officers from other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and foreign officials.
But CIA employees post about some of the museum’s roughly 600 exhibits on social media. The agency also recently started a podcast with Burns, the CIA director, as its first guest.
A primary goal of the museum is to reinforce lessons from the agency’s successes and failures for the current workforce, Neises said. Some CIA veterans who served in the missions depicted in the museum donated artifacts to the collection. But the agency is now hiring officers in their twenties who are too young to remember the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“The idea here is as you’re going to lunch or as you’re going to a meeting, leave 10 minutes early, leave 20 minutes early, and just take the time to look at one section and really learn about your history,” Neises said.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Andre Szmyt knocked in five field goals, including the 31-yard game-winner with just over a minute left, and Syracuse held off Virginia’s second-half comeback to beat the Cavaliers 22-20 on Friday night.
Syracuse led 16-0 at halftime, but Virginia recorded three second-half touchdowns to take a 20-19 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the game. The Orange (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won their first four for the first time since 2018 and got this one despite committing their first four turnovers of the season.
“We’re really fortunate to come out with the win, we’re excited about that,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “The play was not perfect, that’s for sure. But the record is.”
Syracuse drove to the winning field goal with help from a critical facemask penalty on a third-and-7 play from the Syracuse 41 that was called on a sack of Shrader. That moved the ball into Virginia territory and a 12-yard scramble by Shrader after the Cavaliers’ sixth sack moved the Orange into position for the winning kick.
“Once they scored the touchdown, I kind of knew that it might come down to a field goal,” Szmyt said. “And we executed.”
Brennan Armstrong was 19 of 38 for 138 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Lavel Davis Jr. with 5:51 remaining to put Virginia up 20-19.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Chase Brown rushed for 146 yards on 20 carries, Tommy DeVito threw for 196 yards and two scores and the Illinois defense stifled Virginia’s once-potent attack to lead the Fighting Illini to a 24-3 victory on Saturday. Things looked dicey for Illinois (2-1) after DeVito threw an interception on his first pass attempt of the day and when Brown fumbled after a first-down run.
However, a dominant defense cleared the path to victory as the Illini held Virginia (1-1) to 1 of 16 on third-down conversions. “This was a big statement to me about where we were a year ago to where we are now,” Illinois coach Bret Bielema said. “Obviously, they’ve got new coaches and everything, but the majority of a lot of there players were there, some of ours are back and I wanted to see where we are as a program.”
Brendan Farrell put Virginia ahead in the first quarter with a 42-yard field goal for the Cavaliers’ lone score. Virginia’s Tony Elliott shouldered the blame for a “rough day at the office” in his first loss and first road trip as a head coach.
Hopefully this will be the catalyst that sparks us to make sure that we don’t take anything for granted,” Elliott said. “I also said last week, especially after halftime of the (Richmond win) offensively, ‘Don’t look at the stats.’ We have a lot of room to improve, we’ve got to get better and can we handle success? Offensively, we did not handle success well.”
Bailey and safety Kendall Smith intercepted Armstrong twice in the fourth quarter to halt a pair of Virginia drives.
A librarian for Virginia Tech’s Arlington center who also studies British royalty believes that Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered fondly by many, not only in the United Kingdom but also worldwide. Marlene Koenig notes that the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who died at her home in Balmoral, Scotland today, included major social and technological changes, as well as the shrinking of the British Empire:
LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
The palace announced she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.
A link to the almost-vanished generation that fought World War II, she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known.
Her 73-year-old son Prince Charles automatically becomes king, though the coronation might not take place for months. It is not known whether he will call himself King Charles III or some other name.
The BBC played the national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” over a portrait of her in full regalia as her death was announced, and the flag over Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-staff as the second Elizabethan age came to a close.
The queen’s life was indelibly marked by the war. As Princess Elizabeth, she made her first public broadcast in 1940 when she was 14, sending a wartime message to children evacuated to the countryside or overseas.
“We children at home are full of cheerfulness and courage,” she said with a blend of stoicism and hope that would echo throughout her reign. “We are trying to do all we can to help out gallant soldiers, sailors and airmen. And we are trying, too, to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well.”
Since Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth reigned over a Britain that rebuilt from war and lost its empire; joined the European Union and then left it; and transformed from industrial powerhouse to uncertain 21st century society. She endured through 15 prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss, becoming an institution and an icon — a fixed point and a reassuring presence even for those who ignored or loathed the monarchy.
The same month she became the second longest-reigning monarch in history, behind 17th-century French King Louis XIV, who took the throne at age 4. On Sept. 6, 2022, she presided at a ceremony at Balmoral Castle to accept the resignation of Boris Johnson as prime minister and appoint Truss as his successor.
When Elizabeth was 21, almost five years before she became queen, she promised the people of Britain and the Commonwealth that “my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”
It was a promise she kept across more than seven decades.
Despite Britain’s complex and often fraught ties with its former colonies, Elizabeth was widely respected and remained head of state of more than a dozen countries, from Canada to Tuvalu. She headed the 54-nation Commonwealth, built around Britain and its former colonies.
Through countless public events, she probably met more people than anyone in history. Her image, which adorned stamps, coins and banknotes, was among the most reproduced in the world.
But her inner life and opinions remained mostly an enigma. Of her personality, the public saw relatively little. A horse owner, she rarely seemed happier than during the Royal Ascot racing week. She never tired of the companionship of her beloved Welsh corgi dogs.
But in 1936, when she was 10, Edward VIII abdicated to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, and Elizabeth’s father became King George VI.
Princess Margaret recalled asking her sister whether this meant that Elizabeth would one day be queen. ”’Yes, I suppose it does,’” Margaret quoted Elizabeth as saying. “She didn’t mention it again.”
Elizabeth was barely in her teens when Britain went to war with Germany in 1939. While the king and queen stayed at Buckingham Palace during the Blitz and toured the bombed-out neighborhoods of London, Elizabeth and Margaret spent most of the war at Windsor Castle, west of the capital. Even there, 300 bombs fell in an adjacent park, and the princesses spent many nights in an underground shelter.
On the night the war ended in Europe, May 8, 1945, she and Margaret managed to mingle, unrecognized, with celebrating crowds in London — “swept along on a tide of happiness and relief,” as she told the BBC decades later, describing it as “one of the most memorable nights of my life.”
At Westminster Abbey in November 1947 she married Royal Navy officer Philip Mountbatten, a prince of Greece and Denmark whom she had first met in 1939 when she was 13 and he 18. Postwar Britain was experiencing austerity and rationing, and so street decorations were limited and no public holiday was declared. But the bride was allowed 100 extra ration coupons for her trousseau.
The couple lived for a time in Malta, where Philip was stationed, and Elizabeth enjoyed an almost-normal life as a navy wife. The first of their four children, Prince Charles, was born on Nov. 14, 1948. He was followed by Princess Anne on Aug. 15, 1950, Prince Andrew on Feb. 19, 1960, and Prince Edward on March 10, 1964.
In February 1952, George VI died in his sleep at age 56 after years of ill health. Elizabeth, on a visit to Kenya, was told that she was now queen.
Her private secretary, Martin Charteris, later recalled finding the new monarch at her desk, “sitting erect, no tears, color up a little, fully accepting her destiny.”
“In a way, I didn’t have an apprenticeship,” Elizabeth reflected in a BBC documentary in 1992 that opened a rare view into her emotions. “My father died much too young, and so it was all a very sudden kind of taking on, and making the best job you can.”
Her coronation took place more than a year later, a grand spectacle at Westminster Abbey viewed by millions through the still-new medium of television.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s first reaction to the king’s death was to complain that the new queen was “only a child,” but he was won over within days and eventually became an ardent admirer.
In Britain’s constitutional monarchy, the queen is head of state but has little direct power; in her official actions she does what the government orders. However, she was not without influence. She once reportedly commented that there was nothing she could do legally to block the appointment of a bishop, “but I can always say that I should like more information. That is an indication that the prime minister will not miss.”
The extent of the monarch’s political influence occasionally sparked speculation — but not much criticism while Elizabeth was alive. The views of Charles, who has expressed strong opinions on everything from architecture to the environment, might prove more contentious.
She was obliged to meet weekly with the prime minister, and they generally found her well-informed, inquisitive and up to date. The one possible exception was Margaret Thatcher, with whom her relations were said to be cool, if not frosty, though neither woman ever commented.
The queen’s views in those private meetings became a subject of intense speculation and fertile ground for dramatists like Peter Morgan, author of the play “The Audience” and the hit TV series “The Crown.” Those semi-fictionalized accounts were the product of an era of declining deference and rising celebrity, when the royal family’s troubles became public property.
And there were plenty of troubles within the family, an institution known as “The Firm.” In Elizabeth’s first years on the throne, Princess Margaret provoked a national controversy through her romance with a divorced man.
In what the queen called the “annus horribilis” of 1992, her daughter, Princess Anne, was divorced, Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated, and so did Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah. That was also the year Windsor Castle, a residence she far preferred to Buckingham Palace, was seriously damaged by fire.
The public split of Charles and Diana — “There were three of us in that marriage,” Diana said of her husband’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles — was followed by the shock of Diana’s death in a Paris car crash in 1997. For once, the queen appeared out of step with her people.
Amid unprecedented public mourning, Elizabeth’s failure to make a public show of grief appeared to many to be unfeeling. After several days, she finally made a televised address to the nation.
The dent in her popularity was brief. She was by now a sort of national grandmother, with a stern gaze and a twinkling smile.
Despite being one of the world’s wealthiest people, Elizabeth had a reputation for frugality and common sense. She was known as a monarch who turned off lights in empty rooms, a country woman who didn’t flinch from strangling pheasants.
A newspaper reporter who went undercover to work as a palace footman reinforced that down-to-earth image, capturing pictures of the royal Tupperware on the breakfast table and a rubber duck in the bath.
Her sangfroid was not dented when a young man aimed a pistol at her and fired six blanks as she rode by on a horse in 1981, nor when she discovered a disturbed intruder sitting on her bed in Buckingham Palace in 1982.
The image of the queen as an exemplar of ordinary British decency was satirized by the magazine Private Eye, which called her Brenda. Anti-monarchists dubbed her “Mrs. Windsor.” But the republican cause gained limited traction while the queen was alive.
On her Golden Jubilee in 2002, she said the country could “look back with measured pride on the history of the last 50 years.”
“It has been a pretty remarkable 50 years by any standards,” she said in a speech. “There have been ups and downs, but anyone who can remember what things were like after those six long years of war appreciates what immense changes have been achieved since then.”
A reassuring presence at home, she was also an emblem of Britain abroad — a form of soft power, consistently respected whatever the vagaries of the country’s political leaders on the world stage. It felt only fitting that she attended the opening of the 2012 London Olympics alongside another icon, James Bond. Through some movie magic, she appeared to parachute into the Olympic Stadium.
In 2015, she overtook her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years, seven months and two days to become the longest-serving monarch in British history. She kept working into her 10th decade, though Prince Charles and his elder son, Prince William, increasingly took over the visits, ribbon-cuttings and investitures that form the bulk of royal duties.
The loss of Philip in 2021 was a heavy blow, as she poignantly sat alone at his funeral in the chapel at Windsor Castle because of coronavirus restrictions.
And the family troubles continued. Her son Prince Andrew was entangled in the sordid tale of sex offender businessman Jeffrey Epstein, an American businessman who had been a friend. Andrew denied accusations that he had sex with one of the women who said she was trafficked by Epstein.
The queen’s grandson Prince Harry walked away from Britain and his royal duties after marrying American actress Meghan Markle in 2018. He alleged in an interview that some in the family -– but pointedly not the queen -– had been less than welcoming to his wife.
She enjoyed robust health well into her 90s, although she used a cane in an appearance after Philip’s death. In October 2021, she spent a night in a London hospital for tests after canceling a trip to Northern Ireland.
A few months later, she told guests at a reception “as you can see, I can’t move.” The palace, tight-lipped about details, said the queen was experiencing “episodic mobility issues.”
She held virtual meetings with diplomats and politicians from Windsor Castle, but public appearances grew rarer. The queen withdrew from fixtures of the royal calendar, including Remembrance Sunday and Commonwealth Day ceremonies, though she attended a memorial service last March for Philip at Westminster Abbey.
Meanwhile, she took steps to prepare for the transition to come. In February, the queen announced that she wanted Charles’ wife Camilla to be known as “Queen Consort” when “in the fullness of time” her son became king. It removed a question mark over the role of the woman some blamed for the breakup of Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana in the 1990s.
May brought another symbolic moment, when she asked Charles to stand in for her and read the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, one of the monarch’s most central constitutional duties.
Seven decades after World War II, Elizabeth was again at the center of the national mood amid the uncertainty and loss of COVID 19 — a disease she came through herself in February.
In April 2020 — with the country in lockdown and Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized with the virus — she made a rare video address, urging people to stick together.
She summoned the spirit of World War II, that vital time in her life, and the nation’s, by echoing Vera Lynn’s wartime anthem “We’ll Meet Again.”
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again,” she said.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An attempt by the Loudoun County School Board to shut down a grand jury investigating the school system’s handling of two sexual assaults was rejected Friday by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
The high court upheld a ruling in July by a circuit court judge who denied the school board’s request for an injunction to stop the grand jury from proceeding.
The board argued that a special grand jury empaneled by Attorney General Jason Miyares is politically motivated and violates the mandate in the Virginia constitution giving local school boards authority over educational affairs.
Miyares maintains that the grand jury is needed to uncover why the school system allowed a boy who had been accused of sexually assaulting a girl in one high school to transfer to another high school, where he was convicted of sexually assaulting a second girl. Miyares empaneled the grand jury after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, on his first day in office, issued an executive order requesting an investigation by the attorney general’s office.
Youngkin and Miyares, both Republicans, had criticized the school board during their successful 2021 campaigns. They said the board was not transparent in how it handled the case as it revised its guidelines over policies governing transgender students. The assaults attracted national attention in part because the boy was wearing a skirt when he committed at least one of the attacks. The boy was later convicted in juvenile court.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the school board “has offered no convincing argument” for why the grand jury investigation infringes on the provision of the state constitution that vests the supervision of schools in each school division to the local school board.
“A grand jury investigation does not render the power of local supervision meaningless,” the court wrote. “The School Board will continue to oversee the County’s schools exactly as before. The constitutional power to administer a school district does not bring with it immunity from investigation for violations of criminal law.”
The court also addressed the board’s concerns that the grand jury will “overstep its bounds and proceed beyond investigating criminal violations.”
“The special grand jury is not hiring and firing teachers, spending money allocated for the schools, deciding where schools should be built, and so on, i.e. nothing the grand jury is doing restricts the School Board’s core constitutional power of supervision over the schools in Loudoun County,” the court wrote.
In a statement, Miyares called the ruling “yet another win for both Loudoun families and the Commonwealth in our fight for justice and answers.” Youngkin called the ruling “a victory for parents, teachers, and students.”
Loudoun County Public Schools issued a statement saying it appreciates the court’s consideration of the “unusual circumstances” regarding the grand jury.
“While LCPS is disappointed in the results, it will continue to comply with the Special Grand Jury’s requests and awaits the results of its investigation,” the school district said in a statement.
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Blake Watson scored on a 1-yard run with 33 seconds to play and Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech for the second time in as many tries on its home field, 20-17 on Friday night.
The Monarchs made a big splash in their debut as a member of the Sun Belt Conference and spoiled the debut of Hokies coach Brent Pry. He was coaching against a longtime colleague at Vanderbilt and Penn State, Ricky Rahne.
When it was over, as they had in 2018 when the Monarchs knocked off the then-No. 13 Hokies 49-35, fans streamed on to the field in celebration. ODU is 2-12 in its history against Power Five programs, but 2-2 against Tech.
Keshawn King ran for 111 yards and caught a touchdown pass from transfer quarterback Grant Wells for the Hokies. Wells also ran for a score, but threw two first-half interceptions, and then one to set up the decisive drive.
The Hokies were driving and trying to put the game away when Wells’ pass from ODU’s 40 bounced off of Jalen Holston to the Monarchs’ Ryan Henry. A 15-yard penalty against ODU moved the ball back to their 26 with 2:58 left, but a long completion by Hayden Wolff and then a defensive pass interference call near the goal line on Dorian Strong set the Monarchs up at the 1-yard line.
Wolff finished just 14 for 35 for 165 yards, but connected with Ali Jennings for 24 yards to start the winning drive, ran for eight yards on a fourth-and-1 from midfield and threw the pass to Jennings that made Strong draw the huge flag.
“Tonight was frustrating for them because they knew they could play better,” Rahne said. “You know, I think part of it was that they wanted to come out and play so well that they played a little tight. And that’s not who we are.”
Watson needed two tries to make it, but tumbled in with 33 seconds left.
There was no question that he was getting the ball, Rahne said.
“Not only was it his ball, but it was our offensive line’s ball,” he said. “I’ll put it in their hands as many times as I can.”
Wells, who threw a fourth interception on a desperation pass in the final seconds, wasn’t the only one with an auspicious debut for the Hokies. They were whistled for 14 penalties for 100 yards and had five turnovers.
“I am surprised we were sloppy and I felt like they pressed and you know, attention to detail, which showed up in the last scrimmage a little bit, just more penalties than we’ve been having,” Pry said.
“You want to make people earn it, and we didn’t do that.”
Virginia Tech: Wells showed ability with both his big arm and feet, bit that arm also had him overthrowing receivers by a lot, including the interception that led the ODU’s first field goal. He had 34 TDs and 22 interceptions in 23 starts at Marshall and Pry will want him to get more consistent quickly.
Old Dominion: The Monarchs lone touchdown before the decisive run by Watson was a gift when the snap on a 38-yard field goal try by Virginia Tech sailed well over the holder’s head and, in the scramble to recover the ball, ended with Robert Kennedy scooping it and taking it the final 25 yards.
UP NEXT Virginia Tech: The Hokies open their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule at home against Boston College.
Old Dominion: The Monarchs go on the road to play at East Carolina.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Commanders rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr. was shot during an attempted robbery or carjacking, the NFL team said Sunday night.
The 23-year-old former Alabama player was taken to a hospital with what the team called non-life-threatening injuries. The team said in a statement staff members were with Robinson at the hospital.
Coach Ron Rivera said he had been with Robinson.
“He is in good spirits and wanted me to thank everyone for their kind words, prayers & support,” Rivera said on Twitter. “He wants his teammates to know he appreciates them all for reaching out and he loves them all & will be back soon doing what he does best.”
D.C. police reported a shooting in the northeast section of the city and said it was on the lookout for two possible suspects.
Robinson, a third-round draft pick, was was expected to start for the Commanders this season. He had been particularly impressive during training camp and preseason games, likely earning the job over incumbent Antonio Gibson.
“Brian’s been great,” offensive coordinator Scott Turner said recently. “He’s a real serious guy. Football is extremely important to him. He takes a lot of pride in being a physical runner.”
Robinson traveled with the team for its preseason finale at Baltimore on Saturday night but did not dress.
The 6-foot-1, 228-pound back rushed for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns last season at Alabama. The Commanders selected him with the 98th pick in the draft.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Beach drone services company and the sole drone partner of the world’s largest retailer announced plans to expand its headquarters and create a research and training facility outside Petersburg, adding 655 new jobs.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that DroneUp, which has been working with Walmart since late 2021, announced plans to spend $27.2 million to expand in Virginia Beach and Dinwiddie County.
The company will spend $7 million expanding its Newtown Road headquarters, which it says will create 510 new jobs.
DroneUp also plans to establish a new testing, training, research and development center for drone operators at Richard Bland College in Petersburg, creating 145 more new jobs.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s highest court has ruled that Washington, D.C.-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo must be resentenced, because of U.S. Supreme Court decisions relating to constitutional protections for juveniles made after Malvo was sentenced to six life sentences without the possibility of parole
In its 4-3 ruling, however, the Maryland Court of Appeals said it’s very unlikely Malvo would ever be released from custody, because he is also serving separate life sentences for murders in Virginia.
“As a practical matter, this may be an academic question in Mr. Malvo’s case, as he would first have to be granted parole in Virginia before his consecutive life sentences in Maryland even begin,” Judge Robert McDonald wrote in the majority opinion released Friday.
McDonald wrote that it’s ultimately not up to the Court of Appeals to decide the appropriate sentence for Malvo, or whether he should ever be released from his Maryland sentences.
“We hold only that the Eighth Amendment requires that he receive a new sentencing hearing at which the sentencing court, now cognizant of the principles elucidated by the Supreme Court, is able to consider whether or not he is constitutionally eligible for life without parole under those decisions,” McDonald wrote.
Malvo and his mentor, John Allen Muhammad, shot people in Virginia, Maryland and Washington as they pumped gas, loaded packages into their cars and went about their everyday business during a three-week period in 2002. Malvo was 17 at the time; Muhammad was 41.
Muhammad was sentenced to death and was executed in Virginia in 2009.
In Maryland, Malvo voluntarily testified against Muhammad. In 2006, Malvo pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder in Montgomery County in the suburbs of the nation’s capital.
At his sentencing that year, the prosecutor stated that Malvo, once under the sway of an “evil man,” had changed and “grown tremendously” since his participation in the crimes, according to the Court of Appeals ruling.
The ruling said Malvo’s sentence was “consistent with the pertinent State statute and with the advisory State sentencing guidelines at that time.”
“Since then, however, the Supreme Court has held that the Eighth Amendment does not permit a sentence of life without parole for a juvenile homicide offender if a sentencing court determines that the offender’s crime was the result of transient immaturity, as opposed to permanent incorrigibility,” the ruling said.
The ruling also noted that the Supreme Court has held that the legal constraint applies retroactively and applies to Malvo’s case.
Judges Jonathan Biran, Brynja Booth and Joseph Getty joined McDonald in the majority. Judges Shirley Watts, Michele Hotten and Steven Gould dissented.
Watts wrote that the sentencing court took Malvo’s status as a juvenile into account.
“The record demonstrates that Mr. Malvo received a personalized sentencing procedure at which his youth and its attendant characteristics were considered, and the circuit court was aware that it had the discretion to impose a lesser sentence,” Watts wrote.
Hotten wrote that any alleged finding of corrigibility “did not render petitioner’s sentences unconstitutional disproportionate as applied.”
“Rather the proportionality of Petitioner’s sentences must be weighed against the severity of his crimes,” Hotten wrote. “Petitioner committed some of the worst crimes in the history of the State. It was not grossly disproportionate that a heavy penalty was imposed.”
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Police Chief Gerald Smith sounded authoritative when he held a press conference to announce that police had thwarted a planned mass shooting at a July 4 fireworks show in Richmond.
Smith said two men had planned the shooting for the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater. But the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that records obtained through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act show that Smith was informed in writing before his July 6 news conference that the location of any potential incident was “unknown.”
Police said a tipster who had overheard a conversation called police and said there was a plot for a shooting at a large July Fourth event in Richmond.
The records show that the tipster had not specified a location. A police official emailed those records to Smith and an assistant seven minutes before Smith’s news conference. The records also show that Richmond police shared with the FBI that a location was unknown.
In an interview last week with the Times-Dispatch, Smith said his “experience” was part of how he concluded that Dogwood Dell must have been the intended target.
Police arrested one suspect on July 1, seizing guns and ammunition in a residence, and arrested the second, who was under surveillance, after July Fourth. The two men are in federal custody — one on a gun charge and one on an immigration charge — but neither has been charged with anything related to a planned shooting. Smith said last week that Richmond detectives could not corroborate the tipster’s allegation of a shooting plot.
Smith’s news conference came two days after seven people were killed in an Independence Day parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois.
The chief’s claim that Dogwood Dell amphitheater was known to be the intended target caused alarm.
“I think the level of anxiety that they caused the neighbors that live here was ridiculous,” said Paige Quilter, the president of the Carillon Civic Association.
In a response issued through a city spokesperson, Smith said he didn’t have time to review or approve the talking points sent to him minutes before his scheduled news conference.
He said his goal was to be transparent and not cause alarm.
“For any confusion or anxiety that my stating Dogwood Dell was the most likely target, I am deeply sorry,” Smith said in the statement.