The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether a notorious “D.C. sniper” should be re-sentenced in the fallout of a series of high-court rulings that are also impacting a Maricopa-area murder.
The justices took up the argument of Lee Boyd Malvo, now 34, who was 17 in 2002 when he and John Allen Muhammed murdered 10 people in a series of sniper attacks around Washington, D.C. In the past decade, starting with the historic Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court has ruled that sentencing juveniles to life without parole is a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Malvo case not only asks if Miller can be applied retroactively but also questions mandatory sentencing schemes for juvenile offenders without considering individual circumstances.
During arguments in October, Justice Elena Kagan said Miller comes down to two words, “youth matters.”
Arthur Eric Magaña of Maricopa was only 16 years old in 2016 when he and Gustavo Olivo were indicted for the shooting death of 20-year-old Wyatt Miller in an unincorporated area south of Maricopa.
Olivo, who was 17 at the time of the murder, pled guilty a year ago and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Magaña was found guilty by a jury and has been awaiting sentencing for the past 12 months.
Monday, Magaña was before Judge Kevin White for a status review while the judge is preparing for guidance from the upper courts.
The sides must also sort out what White called “clerical-type mistakes” on the part of the defense, which failed to label a filing ex parte. Prosecuting attorney Patrick Johnson said as soon as the correct filings are made, the state intends to file an objection.
He further said the state would object to any motion to request the personal records of the victims.
Johnson said a Supreme Court decision would likely come down in April or May. White predicted having a subsequent sentencing on Magaña sometime in June.
In the meantime, a date for the next hearing was set for Dec. 18.