Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert and assistant commonwealth’s attorneys Richard A. Conway and James A. Willett received the Trial Advocacy Award from the Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation (AGACL) last week.
“It’s a real honor. … We’re very pleased to have received it,” said Ebert, who added Conway and Willett richly deserved the award.
It’s the second time Ebert has received the Trial Advocacy Award. He first won it in 1997-98. The AGACL is a nonprofit organization of more than three hundred government agencies and officers created to provide capital punishment education and resources to prosecutors across the United States.
This year, Ebert, Conway and Willett received the award for prosecuting John Allen Muhammad, also called the Beltway Sniper, last fall. The AGACL also presented the award to Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh for their prosecution of Muhammad’s accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo.
Muhammad and Malvo were prosecuted for the fall 2002 series of shootings that left 10 dead in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Muhammad was convicted of two counts of capital murder, conspiracy to commit murder and use of a firearm in the commission of the murder of Dean Harold Meyers, 53. Meyers, who worked in Manassas and lived in Gaithersburg, Md., was shot while filling his gas tank at the Sunoco service station on Sudley Road, north of the city. Muhammad was sentenced to death.
Malvo, 19, was convicted of the capital murder of Linda Franklin. Franklin, 47, was shot in the parking lot of a Fairfax Home Depot store. Malvo was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“It was a lot of work but well worth every bit of it,” said Conway, who also credited the many other local jurisdictions and police departments involved in the snipers’ arrests and convictions. Prince William prosecutors are still helping out with Muhammad’s second trial, scheduled to begin Oct. 4 in Fairfax County, Conway said.
Horan and Morrogh are prosecuting Muhammad for the murder of Franklin. Malvo may face a second trial in Prince William County for Meyers’ death. Ebert is awaiting the outcome of a Supreme Court case from Missouri, regarding the legality of executing defendants who committed crimes while they were juveniles. Malvo observed his 18th birthday in jail, after the snipers’ arrest.