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Court Split On Possible Resentencing For Teen Sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

WASHINGTON (WJZ) -- The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments to reconsider the sentence of convicted Maryland sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, who was behind at least 10 killings in 2002.

Malvo is currently serving multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole. 

He and John Allen Muhammad were arrested 17 years ago this month, ending the sniper attacks that paralyzed parts of Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Justices were divided after hearing arguments appealing Malvo's sentence in a Virginia killing because he was a juvenile at the time. 

In 2012, almost a decade after Malvo's sentencing, the Supreme Court ruled giving a juvenile life without parole is unconstitutional if there is any chance they can be rehabilitated and are not "permanently incorrigible."

"Juveniles are entitled to at least one opportunity to show that they are not permanently incorrigible," said Malvo's attorney Danielle Spinelli. 

Malvo was 17 during the crime spree. He's 34 today. 

Virginia's solicitor general told the court that the 2012 decision only prohibited mandatory life sentences without parole for minors. He argued SCOTUS' prior ruling "does not cover Malvo's case."

The eventual decision could impact thousands of other cases across the country.

Malvo shot Paul LaRuffa outside of his restaurant in Clinton, Maryland. Today, LaRuffa supports Malvo's fight to have his sentence reconsidered.

He said his backing stems from wanting other juveniles to have the possibility of a second chance. "Life without parole sentences for youth are a problem," LaRuffa said after the arguments. "Youthful offenders should have a chance at rehabilitation."

Even if Malvo wins, it is unlikely he will ever be free again. He would have to appeal his multiple life sentences in Maryland and could face murder charges in other states.

Malvo argued the much older Muhammad manipulated him and orchestrated the murders. Muhammad received the death penalty and was executed in 2009.

Had the pair not been arrested near Interstate 70 outside Frederick in October 2002, Malvo said the next phase of their plan involved coming to Baltimore, murdering a police officer and bombing his funeral. They also wanted to bomb school buses. Malvo and Muhammad had previously been spotted at several locations in the Remington neighborhood.

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