BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Two sniper suspects are now charged with a monthlong series of killings from the Gulf Coast to the suburbs of the nation's capital.
Louisiana officials said Thursday ballistic tests had linked John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, to the Sept. 23 murder of a beauty shop worker -- the second state to file murder charges after re-examining a local shooting for possible links to the Washington-area attacks.
Muhammad and Malvo were also tied to an Alabama murder two days before the Louisiana shooting.
The two suspects face multiple state and federal counts in the Alabama and Louisiana cases, as well as the sniper spree that left 10 people dead and three others wounded in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. They are also suspects in a February killing in Washington state.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Pat Englade issued first-degree murder warrants for Muhammad and Malvo after ballistics tests matched the rifle used in the sniper shootings to the shooting of Hong Im Ballenger, 45.
Ballenger died from a single shot to the head as she left the Beauty Depot. Witnesses said the gunman was a young black man who fled into a nearby park and evaded bloodhounds called in to track him down.
According to the arrest warrant, police believe Muhammad shot the woman and Malvo allegedly stole her purse and fled.
Earlier Thursday, Alabama authorities said the same rifle used in Ballenger's killing, a .223-caliber Bushmaster, had been linked to the shooting death of a liquor store worker in Montgomery on Sept. 21, two days before the Louisiana slaying and 315 miles away.
In that case, the suspect -- allegedly Malvo -- was seen rifling through one of the victim's purses before he was chased off by a police officer.
The sniper suspects have been in custody in Maryland since they were captured at a highway rest stop Oct. 24.
In Washington, Attorney General John Ashcroft said the investigation was continuing into the possibility other people may be involved or that the suspects may have committed more crimes.
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