The two men convicted of sniper attacks in the Washington area were supposed to have had help carrying out their deadly attacks, and they may have been involved in more shootings than authorities suspected, according to an interview with actor William Shatner.
In a telephone call from a south-west Virginia prison, Lee Boyd Malvo told Shatner two others planned to help John Allen Muhammad and him with the killings but they backed out and at least one was killed. Muhammad, the mastermind in the killings, was executed in Virginia last year. He was in his 40s. Malvo was a teen.
Also, Neil Blumberg, a psychiatrist who worked with Malvo, said he confessed to at least 42 shootings during the killing spree that culminated with 13 shootings and 10 deaths over a three-week span in 2002 that terrorised the Washington region.
But when asked about his psychiatrist's claims that he and Muhammad had co-conspirators, Malvo originally denies it. Once pressured, he says someone in Arizona helped them get weapons and explosives, and a man in New York was supposed to help them get out of the country "when it's all said and done". He said both later backed out of plans to help with the shootings.
"There was supposed to be three to four snipers with silenced weapons," said Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the shootings. "In this way we could do a lot more damage along the entire Eastern Seaboard."
When asked about the number of shootings, Malvo rattles off states where he claims he and Muhammad shot people but does not give an exact number. The one-hour "Confessions of the DC Sniper with William Shatner: An Aftermath Special" will be shown on the cable TV channel A&E.
Previously, Muhammad and Jamaican-born Malvo had been linked to as many as 27 shootings resulting in 17 deaths in 10 states and Washington DC. Malvo's statements have been inconsistent in the past, and authorities have cast doubt on some of his reported confessions since he was sentenced to life in prison.
Blumberg said Malvo told him Muhammad made him shoot two of the co-conspirators once they backed out of the plan.
Malvo told Shatner only one of the men was killed, and that Muhammad did it. Blumberg also said Malvo told him there was a third co-conspirator who was supposed to have joined them in Washington but did not. Malvo does not mention that person during the interview with Shatner.
The sniper-style attacks all but paralysed the US capital, as people were shot at random while going about their everyday life - pumping gas, buying groceries, and for one young boy, as he went to school. The gunmen used a high-powered rifle, firing from the trunk of a modified Chevy Caprice until they were tracked down at a Maryland rest stop.