FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) -- With another set of indictments returned against the sniper suspects, Attorney General John Ashcroft said officials are weighing who has the best evidence to deliver the "ultimate sanction" -- death.
A Virginia prosecutor says he is satisfied he has the evidence to immediately try John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old John Lee Malvo. The two were charged with murder Wednesday in the Oct. 14 slaying of an FBI analyst in Fairfax County.
Unlike other prosecutors, Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said he waited to bring charges until he saw the evidence in the case. He said he acted now "because I was satisfied I had enough evidence to go to trial."
Muhammad and Malvo have been accused of shooting 17 people, killing 12 and wounding five, in Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, Washington state and Washington, D.C.
In Fairfax County, each suspect was charged with two counts of capital murder and one count of use of a firearm in a felony in the shooting of Linda Franklin in the parking deck of a Home Depot store. Muhammad was indicted by a grand jury; Malvo was charged in a petition from juvenile court, authorities said.
Muhammad and Malvo were charged under two Virginia statutes: a new post-Sept. 11 terrorism law and a state law allowing capital punishment for the killing of more than one person within three years.
Both charges carry the death penalty. Only the triggerman could get the death penalty under the multiple murder statute; both could receive it under the terrorism law.
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