Muhammad Still Trying to Dominate Malvo

The older Beltway sniper is finally getting his chance to cross-examine the younger Beltway sniper and even just a few hours into the tense questioning it is clear that John Allen Muhammad still seeks to control and dominate his former mentee, Lee Boyd Malvo. Devoid of any legitimate legal questions that would undercut Malvo's devastating testimony against him yesterday, Muhammad instead is trying to humiliate his former partner in crime.

"The last time we played basketball, who won?" Muhammad asked Malvo late yesterday afternoon. "You won," Malvo replied. "Who ran faster?" Muhammad asked. "You," Malvo said. "Who ran five miles faster?" Muhammad asked. "You," Malvo again replied. If you are wondering how and why this exchange has anything to do with the murder case against Muhammad in Montgomery County, Maryland, wonder no longer. It has absolutely nothing to do with the case and everything to do with one man's pathetic need to appear powerful at the expense of the relatively powerless.

Muhammad made it clear almost from the moment he stood up to begin his examination of Malvo-- Muhammad long ago fired his defense attorneys-- that he would not simply attack his former mentee's credibility and accuracy as a witness. "The state has informed me I'm not to address you as 'son' or 'Lee,"' Muhammad said and then he proceeded to tell the young man he once called his son that he, Muhammad, had told the jury he would prove them both innocent.

I'm pretty sure that statement came as news to Malvo since he knows the pair are not innocent and since he spent the better part of Tuesday telling jurors in horrific detail how he and Muhammad planned, prepared for and then executed their deadly shooting rampage through Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Alabama. And one of my journalist friends, inside the courtroom yesterday, told me there was a palpable sense that courtroom observers were actually rooting for Malvo as he parried with Muhammad during the first few moments of their exchange. Malvo looked directly at Muhammad late Tuesday, called him a "coward" and said: "You took me into your house and made me a monster."

It promises to be another day of high drama inside that courtroom and I will keep you posted later on how things shake out.

By  |  May 24, 2006; 11:00 AM ET
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Is the prosecution objecting to the questions? They don't seem to have any relevance to the case at hand. Or do the questions play into the hands of the prosecution?

Posted by: Moo Cow | May 24, 2006 11:35 AM

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