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Details of John Lee Malvo's Confession Now Surfacing

Aired April 22, 2003 - 15:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Virginia prosecutors say teenage suspect John Lee Malvo willingly confessed to some of the sniper shootings that terrorized the D.C. area last fall. Details of his confession are surfacing just now. And while his attorneys are fighting to keep them out of court, we still are getting some details.
CNN's Kathleen Koch live in Washington with just that. Hello, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Miles.

A new legal brief has been filed and it contains basically the prosecution's arguments on why Lee Boyd Malvo's alleged confession should be admitted as evidence in his trial.

The six-hour questioning session took place November 7, after the sniper suspect was turned over to Virginia authorities. And the prosecution filing describes it not as an interrogation but as a casual discussion, where detectives ordered a veggie burger for Malvo to eat, chatting all the while.

Malvo was described as calm, relaxed and not the least bit intimidated by police. The legal brief says one detective four times asked Malvo whether or not he wanted to speak without a lawyer. Malvo responded, "Do I get to see my attorneys," and "My attorneys told me not to say anything to the cops until they got here." But the filing explains that neither is a direct request for a lawyer and so, therefore, his statement should be admissible.

Now prosecutors add that Malvo also signed a statement waiving his right to an attorney. Of course the defense is doing its best to have the alleged confession thrown out. It filed a motion earlier this month arguing that Malvo was essentially tricked by police, that his constitutional rights were violated. Malvo's attorneys contend that not only did he directly ask to have them present, but he several times asserted his right to remain silent.

Now in this new filing, the prosecution does claim that Malvo was anything but. That he laughed as he described shooting FBI employee Linda Franklin in the head outside a Fairfax, Virginia Home Depot store. The filing also says Malvo told detectives about taking a shot at a young boy but missing.

The prosecution filing reads, "Malvo actually smiled and chortled as he recounted this event." Evidently, Malvo found it amusing that as the errant bullet flew past the boy's head he swatted at the air as if a bee had buzzed to close. Now, Miles, there were no details on when or where that alleged shooting occurred, and the hearing is set in Virginia's circuit court on Monday to decide whether or not Malvo's entire statement can be used against him in his November trial.

Back to you.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Kathleen Koch in Washington, thanks very much.

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