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One of the articles Blair was found to have lied in - 3 March 2003

[What follows is the entire New York Times article, written by Blair and published on 3 March 2003.

The article can be accessed on the paper's website here. The article is The New York Times' copyright but is published here in full. As with all other articles on this site, I ask the publishers to recognise the historical value of having their work readily accessible in one place. This site seeks no commercial gain, only to serve as a resource for the future.

Any questions, queries should be directed to kieren@jaysonblair.com.]

March 3, 2003

Relatives of Missing Soldiers Dread Hearing Worse News

By Jayson Blair

FAIRFAX , Va. , March 1 -- The odds were against Detective June Boyle when she shut the door to the interrogation room at headquarters here one day early last November.

The suspect inside, Lee Malvo, who had been charged in the sniper attacks that left 10 dead in the Washington area, had shown few signs of cooperating. In the days between his Oct. 24 arrest and his Nov. 7 encounter with Detective Boyle, law enforcement officials say, Mr. Malvo refused to speak to investigators or court officials, and even tried to climb through the ceiling tiles of a room in a Maryland detention center.

But a little more than six hours after walking Mr. Malvo into headquarters, Detective Boyle, a 26-year veteran of the Fairfax County Police Department, walked out with what investigators say is one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in the case: Mr. Malvo's videotaped confession.

''We were floored when we heard that she was able to get him to talk for more than six hours,'' said a senior law enforcement official from another jurisdiction who is involved in the case. ''To say that he had been uncooperative up until that point is a big understatement.''

That confession is likely to be at the center of a debate that begins Monday over what evidence will be admissible against Mr. Malvo, 18, in his first trial, scheduled to begin in November.

Mr. Malvo's lawyers say he should not have been questioned outside the presence of his court-appointed guardian and lawyers.

A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge is expected to consider a defense motion to suppress the statements.

The interrogation happened on the day Mr. Malvo was transferred from federal custody in Maryland to the authorities in Virginia . He was questioned after federal charges were dropped against him earlier in the day and before a Fairfax County judge could appoint new lawyers to handle his case in Virginia .

The other man charged in the attacks, John Muhammad, 42, whose trial in neighboring Prince William County is to begin in October, refused to speak, investigators said.

Mr. Malvo's lawyers say investigators should have heeded a request not to question Mr. Malvo that was sent that day by his federal lawyers.

Those issues are likely to put Detective Boyle, 46, who declined to be interviewed for this article, at the center of attention in the coming months.

A Boston native, Detective Boyle never considered becoming a police officer, friends and colleagues said, until a neighbor suggested it in 1977. ''I needed something exciting,'' she told The Washington Post 22 years after joining the force.

After five years as a patrol officer, she became a detective in the narcotics bureau, where in 1987 she fatally shot an unarmed man who had just sold her partner an ounce of cocaine. Later that year, Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr., who is prosecuting the case against Mr. Malvo, determined that Detective Boyle had been justified in firing her weapon after being startled by the man.

She went on to become the first woman detective in the county's robbery and homicide units.

Since then, she has handled some of the most prominent murder cases in a county of one million people. But the case Detective Boyle is most known for began on Thanksgiving 1995. That morning, the charred body of Anne E. Harper, a 20-year-old honors student at Hollins College in Roanoke , Va. , who was visiting her parents for the holidays, was found in a house here that had been set on fire.

Detective Boyle noticed blood on the jeans of Ms. Harper's brother, Matthew, and after an autopsy showed that the victim had been stabbed before the fire was set, she put together a circumstantial case that would lead to his confession.

In pictures taken from news helicopters on Nov. 7, Detective Boyle can be seen, dressed in her trademark combination of a blazer draped over a black shirt, walking Mr. Malvo into police headquarters.

Several days later, newspapers reported that Mr. Malvo confessed, but it did not become public that it was during Detective Boyle's questioning until a January hearing when prosecutors called her to testify about Mr. Malvo's involvement in the shootings.

Limiting most of her answers to phrases like ''yes,'' ''no,'' ''correct,'' ''uh-huh,'' and ''I don't know,'' Detective Boyle testified that Mr. Malvo was questioned for six hours. She rejected defense lawyers characterizations of it as an interrogation, instead saying that she and Mr. Malvo had ''conversed, chit-chatted'' and that he was calm, jovial and laughed on occasion.

In court papers filed last Wednesday, prosecutors wrote that Mr. Malvo admitted to several of the shootings, including the Oct. 14 shooting of Linda Franklin, an F.B.I. analyst whom he is accused of killing. Prosecutors called the confession "uncoerced and completely voluntary." They added that Mr. Malvo had "admitted to killing a number of other victims himself with the aid of his co-defendant, who acted as his helper and spotter."

One law enforcement official who has seen parts of the videotape said he was in awe of Detective Boyle's performance. ''To watch her is to watch a master,'' the official said.