TUCSON, Ariz. – Convicted Washington-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo confessed to police that he and cohort John Allen Muhammad were responsible for the 2002 killing of a 60-year-old man on a Tucson golf course, Tucson authorities said Friday.
“He admitted to the killing of Jerry Taylor,” said Capt. Bill Richards, commander of the Tucson Police Department’s violent crimes division.
Richards said Malvo spoke to police in Maryland for a two-hour period Thursday after he received a grant of immunity of prosecution. He said the shooting took place while he and Muhammad were in the area visiting Muhammad’s older sister, Richards said.
Tucson police had long sought to speak with Malvo about the March 19, 2002, death of Taylor, 60, who died from a single gunshot fired from long range as he practiced chip shots at the Tucson course. The case had never been conclusively tied to Muhammad and Malvo.
Richards and Detective Benjamin Jimenez flew to Montgomery County, Md., this week to discuss the shooting. Jimenez said Malvo was contrite and said he was sorry for Taylor’s family.
“He welled up a few times in tears during the interview,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said Malvo shot Taylor as he lay in the bushes and Taylor was retrieving a golf ball. According to Malvo, the two decided to shoot someone on the golf course after conducting surveillance in the desert, Jimenez said.
Authorities said Taylor’s body was moved after the shooting and said his wallet was near the body but that nothing was taken.
Richards said that Malvo agreed to testify against Muhammad if Pima County develops a solid-enough case to bring charges. He said police are still investigating and have not submitted the case to prosecutors.
Muhammad and Malvo were arrested after 10 killings and three woundings in the Washington, D.C., area during three weeks in October 2002. They were accused of roaming the area with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle that they fired from the trunk of a Chevrolet Caprice at random victims.
Malvo is serving a life term in Virginia for sniper shootings. He is in Maryland awaiting sentencing for six sniper killings in Montgomery County during October 2002.
The two are suspects in earlier shootings that year in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and Washington state, and news reports have linked them to shootings in Florida, Texas and California.
Both were convicted of separate Virginia killings in 2003. Muhammad was sentenced to death while Malvo was given a life prison term.
They were sent to Maryland last year to stand trial for six killings in Montgomery County. Muhammad was convicted in May. Malvo is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 9.
Taylor’s daughter, Cheryll Witz, said Malvo’s confession brings closure for her and will allow her to move forward.
She said she wrote Malvo a five-page letter in June imploring him to talk to Tucson detectives. She said she understand his life was difficult growing up without parents and understood how he could have fallen under the influence of Muhammad, who was a father figure to him.
Malvo has previously testified that Muhammad trained him to shoot and lured him into a plot to kill people.
“I do believe he was brainwashed and made to kill my father,” Witz said. “(Muhammad’s) a monster, and he set out intentionally to kill people, and he knew exactly what he was doing.”