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Sniper suspect to represent himself

Associated Press
Published March 30, 2006


ROCKVILLE, Md. - A judge ruled Wednesday that John Allen Muhammad can represent himself at his trial for six killings during the 2002 Washington-area sniper attacks, the second time a court has done so.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge James L. Ryan ruled that Muhammad is competent to represent himself despite evidence presented by his own attorneys that Muhammad might be mentally ill.

"There is no reason at all why I should not be able to represent myself in this trial," Muhammad said at his hearing. "If I had a mental disorder, then Rosa Parks had a mental disorder, because she didn't get up off that seat."

Muhammad is already under a death sentence for a sniper attack committed in Virginia.

Muhammad, 45, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 21, are accused of murdering 10 people and wounding three during the three-week rampage in October 2002 that spread fear across the Washington metropolitan area.

Ryan refused Muhammad's request to delay the trial, set for May 1, in the six Montgomery County, Md., slayings. He could get a life sentence. Malvo, who was also convicted in Virginia and sentenced to life in prison, is scheduled to go on trial in the fall.