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'Sniper' teen was insane.

Teenager Lee Boyd Malvo was legally insane during last year's sniper spree because of intense indoctrination by US sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad, a defence psychiatrist testified at Malvo's trial in Chesapeake, Virginia.

"Lee was unable to distinguish between right and wrong and was unable to resist the impulse to commit the killings," said Neil Blumberg, who examined Malvo 20 times in jail. "From day one, I thought he met the legal criteria for insanity."

Psychiatrist Diane Schetky, who twice interviewed Malvo, also testified that Malvo was unable to tell right from wrong - the legal standard for insanity in Virginia.

Defence mental health experts have said Malvo, 18, was taught by Muhammad that right and wrong are artificial concepts .

The prosecution claims that Malvo knew right from wrong during a killing eight months before the sniper spree, which left 10 dead in and around Washington, DC, in October 2002. Malvo has confessed to killing Keenya Cook in Tacoma, Washington, on February 16, 2002.

Malvo's lawyers are presenting an insanity defence to capital murder charges in the death of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, who was shot on October 14, 2002.

A jury convicted Muhammad last month and recommended he be put to death.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 11, 2003
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