TUCSON -- Convicted Washington-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo told 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, authorities said yesterday.
"He admitted to the killing of Jerry Taylor," said Captain 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, who died from a single gunshot fired from long range as he practiced chip shots at the Arizona course. The case had never been tied to Muhammad and Malvo conclusively.
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 laid in the bushes and shot Taylor as he 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 his wallet was near the body, but nothing was taken.
Richards said Malvo agreed to testify against Muhammad if Pima County develops a case solid enough to bring charges. He said police are still investigating and have not submitted the case to prosecutors.
Muhammad and Malvo were arrested for 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 vehicle 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 will allow her to move forward.
She said she wrote Malvo a letter in June imploring him to talk to Tucson detectives. She said she understand his life was difficult growing up without parents and how he could have fallen under the influence of Muhammad, who was a father figure to him.