Archived coverage: Sniper shootings

Archived coverage of the shootings in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

3:23 PM EDT, September 29, 2012

Ten years ago, snipers plunged region into terror

When the Washington-area snipers launched their shooting rampage a decade ago, Prince George's County restaurateur Paul LaRuffa suffered the same effects as everyone else: anxiety about leaving the house, fear of pumping gas, worry for loved ones — all adding up to a general jumpiness about when, where and whom the gunmen would strike next.

10 years ago, snipers plunged the region into terror

3:05 PM EDT, September 29, 2012

10 years ago, snipers plunged the region into terror

When the Washington-area snipers launched their shooting rampage a decade ago, Prince George's County restaurateur Paul LaRuffa suffered the same effects as everyone else: anxiety about leaving the house, fear of pumping gas, worry for loved ones — all adding up to a general jumpiness about when, where and whom the gunmen would strike next.

November 12, 2009

Sniper's family won't reveal letter

The last thoughts of Washington-area sniper John Allen Muhammad are contained in a letter that his relatives had said would be read publicly Wednesday but which was kept under wraps instead.

November 11, 2009

Washington-area sniper remains defiant to the end

A stoically defiant John Allen Muhammad, the sniper who terrified the Washington area in 2002 as he orchestrated 10 fatal and seemingly random shootings, was executed Tuesday night by injection in Virginia's death chamber.

Hoping for 'justice' tonight for sniper

November 10, 2009

Hoping for 'justice' tonight for sniper

It began in Wheaton with a single gunshot. James D. Martin, 55, had stopped off at a Shoppers Food Warehouse on his way home when, for no apparent reason, an unseen assailant shot and killed him.

May 13, 2009

D.C. sniper Muhammad's lawyers argue for new trial

Attorneys for convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad returned to court Tuesday for a third round of appeals, telling a federal appeals panel that Muhammad should not have been allowed to represent himself for two days at the start of his trial. The sniper slayings that terrified the Washington region in 2002 provided the backdrop for the argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. It focused on whether Muhammad deserves a new trial because his attorneys should have told the judge there was evidence he was mentally incompetent to represent himself. Muhammad was convicted in Virginia Beach in 2003 and sentenced to death for killing Dean H. Meyers near Manassas in October 2002. Jon Sheldon, an appellate lawyer for Muhammad, argued Tuesday that his trial attorneys failed to share with the judge extensive information about his inability to be his own lawyer. Senior Virginia Assistant Attorney General Katherine B. Burnett told the court that Muhammad's self-representation was "a very foolish and unwise decision. But he wasn't incompetent."

June 20, 2006

Federal prison deal for Malvo opposed

The Virginia prosecutors of snipers Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad say they oppose allowing Malvo to serve his life sentence in a federal prison as part of any far-reaching plea agreement, as has been suggested in recent months.

June 4, 2006

Tragic tale comes into focus

After John Allen Muhammad was found guilty of six counts of murder in a Montgomery County courthouse last week, Vickie Snider - whose brother James "Sonny" Buchanan was shot to death by the sniper while riding a lawn mower outside an auto dealership in Silver Spring - talked to the media while State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler looked on.

June 2, 2006

Families confront sniper

More than three years after a sniper's bullet felled Conrad Johnson as he stood in the doorway of a Montgomery County bus, Sonia Wills had the opportunity yesterday to confront her son's convicted killer.

June 1, 2006

A glimpse into the thinking of sniper jury

As jurors in the murder trial of John Allen Muhammad huddled in the small deliberation room of the Montgomery County courthouse, the case finally in their hands after some three weeks of testimony, they began by discussing the evidence in each of the six shootings one at a time, noting where they found gaps and questions.

May 31, 2006


Victims' relatives share pain of trial, joy of verdict

As the first guilty verdict was read in a Montgomery County courtroom yesterday, Oladell Martin covered her mouth and nose with her hands.

May 31, 2006

Guilty verdict in sniper rampage

John Allen Muhammad was convicted yesterday of murder in the 2002 sniper rampage that killed six people in Montgomery County, ending a trial in which his claim of being framed was eclipsed by his protege's riveting portrayal of Muhammad as the creator of a scheme to terrorize the nation.

May 31, 2006

Charges Elsewhere

More trials hinge on Va. permission

John Allen Muhammad's conviction in Montgomery County clears the way for murder trials in other jurisdictions where bullets from the sniper's gun allegedly claimed victims - including Louisiana, Alabama and the District of Columbia.

May 30, 2006

Sniper jury to debate

A Maryland jury was expected to begin deliberations today in John Allen Muhammad's second sniper trial, after jurors saw four weeks of evidence against him and heard Muhammad's claims that he was framed.

May 28, 2006

What we fear probably won't hurt us

In providing the first inside account of the sniper shootings, Lee Boyd Malvo offered a graphic reminder of why the region was gripped by fear for three weeks in October 2002. The killings were random, senseless, horrific. They were meant to scare us, and they worked.

May 27, 2006

Bizarre end to sniper defense

The murder trial of John Allen Muhammad wound down strangely yesterday as a prosecutor described the alleged sniper as a "pathetic coward" and Muhammad gave a rambling 3 1/2 -hour closing argument in which he quoted the Bible, alleged a government conspiracy and said he was framed.

May 26, 2006

Muhammad frustrated

With his murder trial entering its final days, John Allen Muhammad's once-confident tone gave way yesterday to frustration and confusion as his witnesses failed to poke holes in the elaborate case put on by prosecutors and the judge refused to extend the deadline to permit him to bring in witnesses from out of state.

May 25, 2006

Malvo, sniper tangle again

John Allen Muhammad tangled with Lee Boyd Malvo in an aggressive cross-examination of his former protege yesterday, then erupted in anger at prosecutors who tried to limit Muhammad's questioning in his sniper murder trial.

May 25, 2006

Muhammad, Malvo vie for upper hand

The subtle but unmistakable power struggle between John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo continued yesterday in the Montgomery County courtroom where Muhammad is on trial for six sniper murders.

May 25, 2006

Malvo story of Baltimore plot called 'alarming,' 'sobering'

Testimony that the alleged Washington-area snipers had plans to shoot and bomb school buses and other targets in Baltimore, had they not been caught, prompted a ripple of emotions around the area yesterday.

May 24, 2006

On stand, Malvo calmly recounts mayhem plot

Lee Boyd Malvo walked into the packed courtroom yesterday in a dark suit and white shirt and barely looked at the man he once considered his father.

May 24, 2006

City targeted, Malvo says

Unveiling a master plan that dwarfed the October 2002 random sniper shootings, Lee Boyd Malvo told jurors yesterday that had he and John Allen Muhammad not been caught, the two planned to make Baltimore the center of a murderous campaign in which they would have used explosives against children and police.

May 23, 2006

Case against Muhammad builds

As forensic evidence mounts against the pair that authorities say were the 2002 sniper team, Lee Boyd Malvo is due in a courtroom here this morning, expected to testify that John Allen Muhammad brainwashed him into joining in a murderous rampage.

May 22, 2006

Malvo to face former mentor

Lee Boyd Malvo is expected to take the stand against the man who calls him "my son" as early as today, in what promises to be the most dramatic moment so far in the Montgomery County murder trial of John Allen Muhammad.

May 20, 2006

Rifle linked to sniper suspect

As the prosecution moves toward the expected testimony of Lee Boyd Malvo as early as Monday, a ballistics expert testified yesterday that all but two of the people hit by sniper's bullets during the 2002 Washington-area shootings could only have been shot by the .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle found in John Allen Muhammad's car at the time of his arrest.

May 19, 2006

Sniper evidence detailed

John Allen Muhammad appeared frustrated and irate yesterday as expert witnesses began linking him to the 2002 sniper shootings with forensic evidence culled from the Bushmaster rifle and rifle sight found in his car when he and a young accomplice were arrested.

May 18, 2006

Sniper jurors view Caprice

Jurors saw the dark blue Chevrolet Caprice yesterday in which John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested - a 1990 sedan that prosecutors say Muhammad turned into a sniper's lair in the fall of 2002.

May 17, 2006

Malvo helping prosecution

Lee Boyd Malvo, the young Jamaican prosecuted as John Allen Muhammad's accomplice in a deadly sniper rampage in 2002, has provided information to police in recent months, indicating that a deal might be close for Malvo to testify against the man who still calls him "my son."

May 17, 2006

Jurors to see 'deadly Caprice'

With its tinted windows, dark-blue paint and white interior, the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice attracted little attention as it glided through the region in that awful fall of 2002.

May 16, 2006

Final sniper slaying detailed

Prosecutors reached the final sniper slaying in the murder trial of John Allen Muhammad in a Montgomery County courtroom yesterday, while the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of his Virginia death sentence for another of the serial killings.

May 14, 2006

Sniper defense dwells on minutiae

Yellow legal pad in hand, convicted killer John Allen Muhammad pointedly questions a Virginia police officer who has identified Muhammad as the man he stopped behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Caprice, and released, during a police dragnet near an Oct. 9, 2002, sniper-style killing in Manassas, Va.

May 11, 2006

Va. officer is questioned by Muhammad at trial

John Allen Muhammad and a Virginia police officer who says he encountered and questioned him a half-hour after a killing got into a testy courtroom exchange yesterday, as Muhammad repeatedly asked him the same questions.

May 10, 2006

Muhammad questions survivor

In a strange courtroom drama, a survivor of the October 2002 sniper shootings in the Washington area came face to face yesterday with the man suspected of trying to kill her.

May 9, 2006

Sniper prosecution continues

Brought into the courtroom and nattily attired in a beige suit from the closet of one of his standby lawyers, sniper John Allen Muhammad greeted the judge, lawyers and court personnel yesterday: "Good morning, everyone."

May 6, 2006

Sniper testimony begins

One was reading a book in bed when the awful call came. Another was trying to get her young niece to take an after-lunch nap when two policemen came to her house.

May 5, 2006

Muhammad cites the Gospel, Plato

Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad told a jury yesterday that he came to the Washington area on a desperate search for his children, and that he was shocked when he and teenager Lee Boyd Malvo, whom he called "my son," were yanked from their car by authorities and accused of being the snipers who laid siege to the region in 2002.

May 5, 2006

Defendant impresses as 'smooth'

He didn't take two hours and one minute, as he had threatened.

May 4, 2006

Publicity plays role on Muhammad jury

One by one, they walk down the aisle, some 300 prospective jurors, stealing glances around the nearly empty courtroom, before their eyes flash on the man for whom they are here.

May 3, 2006

Sniper could face Malvo

John Allen Muhammad would get to confront the youth he used to refer to as "my son" and "sniper" during an alleged murderous rampage in 2002 under terms of a deal that prosecutors are trying to work out with lawyers for Lee Boyd Malvo, according to sources.

May 2, 2006

Views of jury pool trouble sniper

The difficulty of finding jurors in Montgomery County who had not decided that convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad was responsible for the county's six sniper killings in 2002 became immediately apparent yesterday as the presiding judge questioned the first batch of 300 potential jurors.

April 30, 2006

Bracing for the sniper trial

Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera was the shy little girl with fine blond hair, the teenager who didn't use profanity, the young woman absorbed in mystery novels and, finally, a 25-year-old nanny thousands of miles from home. She was Marion and Jo Lewis' daughter, Nelson Rivera's wife and Jocelin's mom.

April 29, 2006

Judge denies Muhammad's request for trial delay

Sporting a new close-cropped haircut in his last court appearance before his six-count murder trial starts here Monday, convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad asked a Montgomery County judge yesterday first to delay, then to move, the trial.

April 25, 2006

City lawyers are standby counsel for Muhammad

Three Baltimore lawyers were named yesterday to act as standby counsel for convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad, whose trial on six counts of first-degree murder in Montgomery County is scheduled to start Monday.

March 31, 2006

Sniper's attorneys quit murder trial

Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad will not have public defenders standing by to help him as he represents himself in his Montgomery County murder trial.

March 30, 2006

Muhammad ruled competent

Despite claims from his defense lawyers that he is mentally ill, convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad is competent to stand trial and will be allowed to act as his own lawyer at his Montgomery County murder trial that begins May 1, a county judge ruled yesterday.

March 7, 2006

Sniper Muhammad loses 2 pretrial motions

A combative John Allen Muhammad came to court yesterday with a list of complaints, including allegations that jailers have restricted his access to court documents in his trial in six Montgomery County sniper killings and disagreements with his attorneys over legal filings.

March 3, 2006

Execution of sniper won't be sought

Montgomery County's top prosecutor said yesterday that he has decided not to seek the death penalty for sniper John Allen Muhammad when he is tried on murder charges this year.

August 30, 2005

Wounds heal, memories linger

Some nights, as Paul LaRuffa bustles past the bar en route to the kitchen of his restaurant, he feels the stares and overhears snatches of whispered conversation: That's the guy who was shot.

August 26, 2005

Montgomery judge tells Muhammad to end hunger strike or be force-fed

Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad was ordered yesterday by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge to end his hunger strike or he will be force-fed if his health deteriorates.

August 23, 2005

Muhammad moved to Maryland prison for 2nd murder trial

Death row inmate John Allen Muhammad was transported to Maryland from Virginia under heavy guard early yesterday to await trial with co-defendant Lee Boyd Malvo on six more counts of murder in the 2002 Washington-area sniper killings.

August 20, 2005

Judge orders Muhammad moved to Md. for 2nd trial

A judge in Virginia ordered yesterday that death row inmate John Allen Muhammad be moved to Maryland, where he faces a second trial in the 2002 Washington-area sniper attacks.

June 4, 2005

County sheriff sees snipers' trial as costly

ROCKVILLE -- The cost of securing the Montgomery County courthouse for the expected trials of the Washington-area snipers could cost up to a half-million dollars, according to the county sheriff, an indication that trying the pair again might not be as inexpensive as some officials have said.

Malvo sent from Virginia to Maryland for trial in 2002 sniper killings

May 26, 2005

Malvo sent from Virginia to Maryland for trial in 2002 sniper killings

CLARKSBURG - Convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo returned to Maryland from Virginia yesterday and is being held in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility to await trial on charges of killing six people during the Washington-area sniper shootings 2 1/2 years ago.

September 23, 2004

Muhammad may represent himself in his second Virginia murder case

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad -- who briefly acted as his attorney in his first trial and told jurors he was at the fatal shooting of the man he was accused of killing -- has considered a reprise of the lawyer role for his second capital murder trial.

May 11, 2005

Snipers to be tried in Maryland

Convicted snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo will return to stand trial in Maryland, site of six of the 10 sniper killings that paralyzed Washington-area residents with fear 2 1/2 years ago.

September 22, 2004

Judge in sniper case decides to step aside

The judge who was to preside over the next capital murder trial of John Allen Muhammad has abruptly recused himself, after prosecutors alleged that he wrongly conducted his own investigation into whether the convicted sniper has been denied a speedy trial.

September 9, 2004

Judge in sniper case is asked to remove self

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Prosecutors said yesterday that the judge in the second death-penalty case of convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad should remove himself from the case because he improperly conducted his own investigation into a critical pretrial dispute.

August 31, 2004

Sniper's lawyers lose bid to prevent 2nd capital trial

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Lawyers for John Allen Muhammad failed yesterday to prevent a second capital murder trial in Virginia for the convicted sniper, after a judge ruled that another prosecution for his alleged role in the sniper shootings does not constitute double jeopardy or violate state law.

July 30, 2004

Judge says attorney can prosecute sniper

FAIRFAX, Va. -- A judge said yesterday that Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. can prosecute convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad in his second capital murder trial, rejecting a defense bid to bar the veteran prosecutor and his staff from trying Muhammad in the shooting death of FBI analyst Linda Franklin.

March 23, 2004

Muhammad defense team seeks retrial

MANASSAS, Va. - Statements purportedly made by a lawyer from Washington state and the youngest daughter of convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad should not have been admitted during the penalty phase of the case, defense attorneys said in a motion for a new trial.

March 19, 2004

Convicted sniper Muhammad moved to Va. death row

Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad was transferred without incident from a Northern Virginia jail to death row yesterday, according to a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections.

March 11, 2004

Va. judge sentences Malvo to life terms

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Somber and silent to the end, 19- year-old Lee Boyd Malvo was given two life sentences without parole yesterday for his role in the suburban sniper attacks that left 10 dead during three weeks of terror around the nation's capital in October 2002.

March 10, 2004

Death sentence is confirmed for serial sniper Muhammad

MANASSAS, Va. - John Allen Muhammad, the ex-soldier turned suburban sniper whose attacks took 10 lives in and around the nation's capital, was sentenced to death yesterday in a courtroom packed with the tearful relatives of those he killed.

March 10, 2004

Victims' families find closure in sentence

MANASSAS, Va. - The families of the sniper victims spent so many days in court together during the six-week trial of John Allen Muhammad last fall that they greeted each other like old friends at the courthouse yesterday, their bonds forged by the losses they shared.

February 10, 2004

Muhammad attorneys seek to overturn verdict

Defense attorneys for convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad wanted to argue that their client suffered from an "abnormal brain" and "neurological deficits" about the time of the shootings that left 10 dead in October 2002, according to reports from mental health experts made public yesterday.

March 9, 2004

Judge asked to spare sniper

More than 50 relatives and friends of the sniper victims are expected in a Virginia courtroom this morning for the sentencing of John Allen Muhammad - a haunting reminder for the trial judge of the pain caused by the shooting rampage that left 10 people dead in the Washington region.

December 19, 2003

Jury convicts Malvo in sniper shootings

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Rejecting the defense claim that Lee Boyd Malvo was insane after a former Army soldier transformed him into a dispassionate killer, a jury convicted the teen-ager of capital murder yesterday in connection with last fall's sniper assaults that left 10 dead in the Washington area and millions living in fear.

December 23, 2003

Malvo lawyer appeals for 'love,' as prosecutor demands 'justice'

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Defense lawyer Craig S. Cooley stood before the jurors who will decide a sentence for Lee Boyd Malvo and made a final plea yesterday for the convicted sniper's life, distilling three weeks of evidence into 30 minutes of eloquence. Then, after the jury left the courtroom to begin its work, Cooley sat down and sobbed.

December 19, 2003

Insanity defense was risky strategy

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Lee Boyd Malvo's lawyers waged an elaborate insanity defense. They called four mental health experts who said their client didn't know right from wrong. They brought forth witnesses to talk about Malvo's abusive childhood. They showed drawings Malvo made that exalted Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

December 19, 2003

Deep feelings grip families after verdict

Marion Lewis, whose daughter Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera was shot and killed at a Kensington gas station more than a year ago, said yesterday that he stayed away from the Lee Boyd Malvo trial for his own good.

December 18, 2003

Malvo jury continues deliberating into 2nd day

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Jurors weighing the fate of Lee Boyd Malvo - the teen-ager accused in a shooting rampage that left 10 dead and sent waves of terror around the nation's capital last fall - did not reach a verdict yesterday after deliberating seven hours on the intricacies of a complex insanity defense.

December 17, 2003

Nastiness, greed said to inspire Malvo

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Nastiness and a desire for money -- not insanity -- drove Lee Boyd Malvo to kill person after person in a bloody sniper rampage in the Washington, D.C., area, one of Virginia's top prosecutors told jurors in a closing argument yesterday.

December 16, 2003

Testimony completed in trial of Malvo

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Testimony ended yesterday in the capital murder trial of Lee Boyd Malvo after two psychologists for the prosecution told jurors that the teen-ager was not mentally ill when he took part in the sniper attacks that gripped the Washington area in fear last year.

December 14, 2003

Defending sniper suspects costs Md.

The cost of defending John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo has soared past $1 million -- a sum that has been partially borne by Maryland taxpayers even though the sniper case defendants faced trial in Virginia courtrooms on Virginia murder charges.

December 12, 2003

Doctor testifies on sites scouted

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Preparing for a keep-them-guessing strategy in their Washington-area sniper plot, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo scouted more than 100 potential shooting sites in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, a psychiatrist for the teen-age sniper suspect testified yesterday.

December 11, 2003

Malvo was legally insane, expert says

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Unable to distinguish between right and wrong, Lee Boyd Malvo met the standard for being legally insane when he participated in last year's deadly sniper rampage, a Maryland psychiatrist for his defense testified yesterday.

December 10, 2003

2 stories by Malvo the focus of trial

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - In many ways, the trial of sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo comes down to his word against his word.

December 3, 2003

Malvo sought escape from Muhammad 'situation,' jury told

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Believing that the man he regarded as his father was "going to have to kill me for a righteous society to prevail," Lee Boyd Malvo wrote a letter two months before last year's sniper rampage that asked for help in getting out of the "situation" he was in with John Allen Muhammad, according to attorneys and court testimony yesterday.

December 9, 2003

Psychologist says Malvo agreed to martyrdom

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A psychologist for the defense told jurors yesterday that sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo was so thoroughly brainwashed by John Allen Muhammad's regimen of hatred that he agreed to "martyr" himself in the event the two were captured.

December 5, 2003

Malvo art indicates 'Matrix' obsession

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Consumed with righting racial inequality and injustice, sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo became yesterday the latest young defendant to use the film The Matrix as part of an insanity defense to explain killings that seem to have no clear explanation.

December 8, 2003

Malvo's grades suggest a boy with potential

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The report card held such promise.

December 5, 2003

Malvo described as upbeat near trial

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- A Baltimore neuropsychologist told jurors yesterday that Lee Boyd Malvo bore a light-hearted and inappropriately "cheerful" demeanor as he was jailed awaiting trial on capital murder charges in connection with last fall's sniper rampage.

December 4, 2003

Malvo sketches depicted 'jihad'

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Hoping to shed light on what they believe was an insane mind, defense attorneys for sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo presented a judge yesterday with dozens of sketches that the teen-ager scribbled in his jail cell while awaiting trial for last fall's sniper attacks - crimes that Malvo depicted in his art as "jihad" in America.

December 3, 2003

For former juror, 'unfinished business'

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Dennis Bowman spent the past six weeks hearing stories of serial murder and ruined lives. As a juror in the John Allen Muhammad sniper case, he was haunted by the grisly autopsy photographs of people shot in the head, and he didn't sleep the night before he voted to put Muhammad to death.

December 2, 2003

Defense pushes theory of Malvo brainwashing

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Jurors in the Lee Boyd Malvo trial yesterday began getting a fuller picture from the teen-ager's attorneys about how they believe John Allen Muhammad lured the youth under his control and put him on a regimented lifestyle that included doing 50 push-ups as punishment for misbehavior.

November 25, 2003

Father calls Malvo 'obedient, manageable' youth

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Crying as he spoke wistfully of an angelic tyke in Jamaica, the father of teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo testified that the last time he saw his son, the boy was a polite, loving child doing well in school.

November 25, 2003

Jurors say Muhammad should be put to death

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - After tearful jurors decided he could spread harm even "if he's locked up in the deepest hole," John Allen Muhammad stood dry-eyed and unflinching yesterday as he heard the jury say he should be put to death for waging suburban sniper warfare that took 10 lives during three weeks of terror last fall.

November 25, 2003

From the start, authorities aimed for death sentences in sniper cases

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - From the start, from the night last fall that John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested as they slept at a Maryland rest stop in the Chevrolet Caprice that prosecutors later would call a killing machine, everything about the case against them was designed to reach this end.

November 24, 2003

Skilled defense without the ego

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- They seem an unlikely pair -- the courtly Richmond lawyer who can stretch his vowels into next week and the Bronx native who bottles up New York intensity in a voice often so flat and low that the judge reminds him to speak up.

November 25, 2003

After thought, prayer on decision, jurors 'know we made the right one'

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - When they filed into the windowless deliberations room Friday morning to begin weighing the fate of convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad, not every juror saw the shooting attacks that horrified the country as an automatic case for the death penalty.

November 21, 2003

Jury weighs 2 portraits: cold killer or loving dad

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The life of John Allen Muhammad was placed last night into the hands of a jury that must reconcile two conflicting portraits of the convicted sniper - one of a gentle and polite man who loved his children, another of a remorseless killer who orchestrated a deadly rampage that terrified millions.

November 21, 2003

Supermax guard testifies at Malvo trial

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A guard from Baltimore's Supermax prison told jurors yesterday that sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo laughed when he talked about killing FBI analyst Linda Franklin, said he had planned to shoot a pregnant woman at a Baltimore cemetery, and said he accepted that he would be sentenced to death.

November 20, 2003

Muhammad's ex-wife recalls death threat

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Declaring their love for him "no matter what," John Allen Muhammad's three young children became part of the grim testimony yesterday on whether he should be sentenced to death for killings that still have no clear explanation.

November 20, 2003

Disputed guideline to shape Muhammad sentence

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - To send John Allen Muhammad to death row, jurors here must weigh two factors: what danger the convicted sniper killer might pose in the future and whether the crimes he committed were "outrageously or wantonly vile."

November 20, 2003

Malvo prosecutors race to finish case

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Prosecutors hope today to wrap up the main part of their capital murder case against the teen-ager they allege was half of the sniper team that terrorized the Washington area last fall with the indiscriminate killing of 10 people.

November 19, 2003

Convicted sniper scouted sites for murder, prosecutors say

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Prosecutors seeking the death penalty for John Allen Muhammad said yesterday that the Army veteran roamed from Maryland to North Carolina in an apparent hunt to locate dozens of targets for murder - a task he documented with meticulous precision on a laptop computer that listed several "good spots" for stealthy getaways.

November 19, 2003

Jury hears tape of teen on plan, blame

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Jurors yesterday heard a taped police interview in which teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo told a detective that he and John Allen Muhammad devised detailed plans well in advance for each of the shootings that last fall laid siege to the Washington area in three weeks of terror.

November 18, 2003

Muhammad found guilty

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As a dozen relatives of his victims held hands and wept behind him, John Allen Muhammad was found guilty of capital murder yesterday for using a teen-age boy and a beat-up Chevrolet to spread terror and take 10 lives in the Washington-area sniper rampage last fall.

November 18, 2003

Defense has challenge in averting death row

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As they try to persuade a jury to spare their client's life, attorneys for convicted sniper killer John Allen Muhammad must do so without what typically is the centerpiece of a death penalty defense: evidence of the defendant's troubled mental state.

November 19, 2003

The Malvo interrogation

Excerpts from a taped interrogation by Prince William County Detective Samuel Walker with teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo in November 2002:

November 14, 2003

Muhammad sniper trial goes to jury

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Describing John Allen Muhammad as a diabolical and mind- controlling killer, prosecutors told jurors yesterday that the sniper suspect turned a beat-up Chevrolet Caprice into a "war wagon" and a 17-year-old boy into an "instrument of death and destruction" to carry out the sniper attacks last fall.

November 18, 2003

For relatives, verdicts mark beginning of end

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Bob Meyers sat in his blue Hyundai yesterday afternoon, letting the engine run to charge his well-worn cell phone that he used as the lifeline to share the news, one call after another.

November 18, 2003

Judge in trial of Malvo excludes 911 tape on first day of testimony

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A judge refused to let jurors hearing the case against teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo listen to a gut-wrenching tape of an Arlington man wailing to a 911 dispatcher that his wife had just been shot.

November 14, 2003

Muhammad jurors to consider unusual issues

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - With their exit to the deliberations room, jurors deciding the fate of sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad face some unusual legal issues - they are the first panel to consider a new Virginia anti-terrorism law, and one of a few juries to weigh whether a man should face execution in a murder case if he did not fire the fatal shot.

November 14, 2003

Malvo depicted as sad, sinister

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Offering a sinister description of the teen-age half of an alleged killing team, a Virginia prosecutor told jurors yesterday that Lee Boyd Malvo knew exactly what he was doing when he gunned down one victim after another in last fall's murderous rampage.

November 13, 2003

Attorneys offer quick defense in sniper case

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Attorneys began - and ended - their defense of John Allen Muhammad yesterday morning by attacking small parts of the state's case without challenging the heart of the evidence against the alleged mastermind of last fall's sniper shootings.

November 13, 2003

9 women and 7 men are chosen for jury that will try Malvo

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Selecting mostly women and middle-class professionals, attorneys in the Lee Boyd Malvo sniper case finished choosing the jury yesterday that will decide the fate of the teen-ager from the Caribbean who is alleged to have acted as the trigger man in much of last year's cross-country killing rampage.

November 13, 2003

By Julie Bykowicz

Sun Journal: Key moments in sniper case

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury ... " In two Virginia courtrooms this morning, lawyers will speak directly to jurors as the trial of one sniper suspect begins and another ends.

November 12, 2003

Two experienced attorneys battle for Muhammad's life

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Jonathan Shapiro says he hesitated last November to accept his friend and fellow Virginia defense attorney Peter D. Greenspun's offer to serve as co-counsel for sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad.

November 12, 2003

28 potential jurors chosen for Malvo trial

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- A 68-year-old lunchroom worker, a 41-year-old minister and a 31-year-old welder are among the pool of 28 people who potentially could decide if teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo will live or die.

November 11, 2003

Prosecution wraps up its capital case against Muhammad

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Prosecutors rested their case against John Allen Muhammad yesterday with an unconventional argument: The fear and terror caused by last fall's sniper shootings demand the death penalty for Muhammad even though he might not have pulled the trigger in the attacks.

November 11, 2003

The case against sniper suspect Muhammad

November 11, 2003

Malvo murder trial begins in Va. with jury selection

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo began the fight for his life yesterday, answering "not guilty" in court to two charges of capital murder - the beginning of a trial expected to last six to nine weeks.

November 10, 2003

As Malvo trial opens, Muhammad's case likely to loom large

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Virginia prosecutors will open a second front today against the suspects in the Washington-area sniper attacks as they paint a picture of Jamaican-born teenager Lee Boyd Malvo as a chillingly unrepentant killer while his lawyers embark on an insanity defense to try to save him from possible execution.

November 8, 2003

Muhammad in tears on sniper trial testimony

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Jurors in the John Allen Muhammad trial have become used to seeing tearful people in the courtroom, as witnesses describe how their family members were killed by a sniper's bullets. But yesterday, jurors saw tears coming from an unlikely person - Muhammad himself.

November 7, 2003

Prosecutors roll in copy of suspect's car for sniper trial jury

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - To the surprise of the jury, prosecutors in the John Allen Muhammad trial rolled the back half of a Chevrolet Caprice into the courtroom yesterday and demonstrated how a sniper could crawl into the trunk and remain unseen while firing a high-powered rifle through a concealed gun port above the license plate.

November 6, 2003

Laptop map shows trail of sniper scenes

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - An FBI cybercrimes expert said yesterday that the suspected serial snipers kept a carefully detailed map of the shooting scenes on a laptop computer, using skulls and crossbones as symbols to show where victims were shot and labeling at least one of the murder sites with a chilling notation: "Good one."

November 5, 2003

By Stephanie Desmon

Sun Journal: Real, live courtroom drama

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's the hottest ticket in town right now, a seat in the tiny courtroom where Washington-area sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad is fighting for his life.

November 4, 2003

How 'blue Caprice y'all are looking for' is found

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The final scene of last fall's serial sniper ordeal played out on a dark, quiet night at a Frederick County rest stop. Outfitted in black flight suits and body armor capable of stopping a high-powered rifle bullet, FBI agents stormed a blue Chevrolet Caprice, not knowing what dangers they might face.

November 3, 2003

Malvo's case stirs debate on death penalty

He is either a classic case study for why the death penalty should be abolished for juvenile killers or a prime example of why age should not be a determining factor in meting out a death sentence.

October 30, 2003

List of five schools in Balto. Co. found in Muhammad's car

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The names of five western Baltimore County schools were found scrawled on a slip of paper in John Allen Muhammad's Chevrolet Caprice - a haunting finding that prosecutors revealed yesterday after a 14-year-old boy testified about how a sniper shot him outside a Bowie school last fall.

October 31, 2003

Even trying to avoid sniper didn't work for one survivor

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Hoping to elude the serial sniper's scope, Jeffrey and Stephanie Hopper drove as far south into Virginia as they could one evening last October before stopping just north of Richmond to buy gas and find dinner.

October 31, 2003

During sniper crisis, two calls prompted two different replies

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - In the middle of October last year, as the sniper shootings reached a fever pitch in the Washington region, a person claiming to be the sniper placed calls to a suburban police dispatcher and a small-town priest.

October 30, 2003

Parents express shock and fear upon learning of suspects' list

Daniell Sainato heard the news yesterday that her sons' schools were on a list apparently penned by the serial sniper suspects. And she was sickened by the thought of what might have been.

October 29, 2003

In sniper trial, prayers, calls for help, car sightings

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - On the day after five people were killed by sniper fire in Maryland and Washington, D.C., Caroline Seawell went shopping for Halloween decorations. She had just loaded a scarecrow and a wreath into her minivan outside a crafts store when pain suddenly shot through her back.

October 29, 2003

Sniper suspect's refusal complicates case

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The job of keeping John Allen Muhammad alive, should he be convicted in last year's Washington-area sniper attacks, has become more difficult after his refusal to speak to the prosecution's psychiatrist, legal experts said yesterday.

October 28, 2003

Witness puts suspect's car at La. killing

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Buttressing a prosecution claim that John Allen Muhammad was the triggerman in a handful of last fall's serial sniper killings, a witness recounted yesterday that she saw Muhammad's car emerge from a secluded spot moments after a Baton Rouge, La., beautician was fatally shot with a high-powered rifle.

October 27, 2003

Trial is reminder of missed chances

The map book - stolen from the Reisterstown Road branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library - could have led investigators straight to their prey.

October 23, 2003

Sniper suspect reinstates his defense team

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Citing a change of heart and an abscessed tooth that swelled his right cheek to the size of a lemon, sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad rehired his lawyers yesterday - and vowed not to fire them again.

October 23, 2003

Retreat by Muhammad called a shrewd move

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As abruptly as it began, John Allen Muhammad's self-representation ended yesterday when a toothache prompted him to reinstate his team of defense lawyers, throwing into question how jurors might perceive the alleged sniper mastermind.

October 23, 2003

Excerpts from the sniper trial: Muhammad steps down

Taken from a bench conference in which sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad asked to forfeit his right to act as his own attorney and reinstate lawyers Peter D. Greenspun and Jonathan Shapiro. The excerpt begins with court officials trying to clarify Muhammad's request to rehire his attorneys.

October 22, 2003

Fingerprint on stolen map said to link defendant, sniper scene

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - On the night that a sniper fired from the shadows and fatally shot Dean H. Meyers at a Manassas gas station, police found nearby a map of Baltimore that had been stolen from the Enoch Pratt Free Library and bore fingerprints of the men accused in the killing.

October 22, 2003

Providing security for Muhammad trial a huge undertaking

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A dim light shines through the night in the 10-by-8-foot jail cell where John Allen Muhammad resides when he is not on trial for capital murder.

October 21, 2003

Sniper suspect opens trial as own counsel

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As the trial for his life got under way yesterday, John Allen Muhammad shocked the court by firing his lawyers and delivering an elliptical opening statement in which he claimed direct knowledge of the sniper shootings only to, moments later, deny any involvement.

October 21, 2003

'A tragedy for the justice system'

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - When sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad demanded the right to represent himself at trial yesterday, he joined a fraternity of pro se capital murder defendants that includes hippie-era cult leader Charles Manson and serial killer Ted Bundy.

October 17, 2003

Defense for teen sniper suspect suffers setback in court ruling

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Defense attorneys for sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo hit a snag yesterday when a judge ruled that as many as 25 potential witnesses for the teen-ager, including his mother, cannot testify by videoconference from the Caribbean and other far-flung places.

October 16, 2003

Sniper jury pool is thinned

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Attorneys began the lengthy task yesterday of whittling down the jury pool in the case of serial sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad and selected the first batch of potential jurors, who faced a battery of questions on issues ranging from the death penalty to the extensive publicity surrounding the trial.

October 15, 2003

Muhammad pleads not guilty in sniper killing of Md. man

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - On the first day of a trial that has attracted worldwide attention, serial sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad stood in a packed courtroom yesterday and answered to charges of capital murder in the death of a Maryland man shot pumping gas a year ago.

October 15, 2003

Death-penalty protester uses sniper trial for his message

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As John Allen Muhammad stiffly bowed to jurors in the freshly painted Virginia Beach courtroom, Jack Payden-Travers began a lonely vigil outside that drew honks of empathy and derision.

October 14, 2003

Sniper trial renews death penalty talk

When the Washington-area sniper trial begins today in Virginia, prosecutors in Maryland - where 10 of the 13 shootings occurred - will be sitting on the sidelines.

October 14, 2003

A year after killings, sniper suspect's trial to start today in Va.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A year after a team of serial snipers went on a cross-country rampage that left 14 dead in seven states, the trial of John Allen Muhammad will begin today as prosecutors armed with mostly circumstantial evidence try to paint the ex-soldier as the controlling mastermind behind the attacks.

October 13, 2003

Va. judge has had time in spotlight

For Virginia Circuit Judge LeRoy F. Millette Jr., the unblinking attention of the nation's media and legions of curious onlookers that will accompany the first trial in last fall's sniper shootings are nothing new. A decade ago, just a month into his current job, Millette presided over half of the infamous domestic assault case involving Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt.

October 10, 2003

Lawyers file insanity plea for Malvo

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Lawyers for sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo will present an insanity defense at the teen-ager's trial next month, contending that Malvo was brainwashed by his alleged accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, and could not tell right from wrong.

October 2, 2003

Malvo takes Fifth at hearing

MANASSAS, Va. - Sniper suspects John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo came face to face in a Virginia courtroom yesterday, looking each other in the eye for the first time since they were charged nearly a year ago in a spate of killings that terrified the Washington region.

October 2, 2003

Hundreds remember area's sniper victims in candlelight vigil

ROCKVILLE - Friends and family members of the Washington-area sniper victims gathered last night for a candlelight vigil to honor the dead and to thank the community for remembering the shootings with letters, gifts and prayers.

September 29, 2003

A painful anniversary approaches

SILVER SPRING -- One year later, the sites of the killings are again ordinary. People buy and sell used cars at Fitzgerald Automotive on Rockville Pike with little notice of the fading memorial nearby. At the Shell station on Connecticut Avenue, motorists fill up their cars without hesitation.

September 24, 2003

Witness says he saw Muhammad, Malvo at scene of sniper killing

MANASSAS, Va. - For the first time, a witness testified yesterday that he saw sniper suspects John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo at the scene of one of the 13 shootings that terrorized the Washington region last fall.

September 18, 2003

Judge won't rule out execution of Malvo

FAIRFAX, Va. - A Circuit Court judge refused yesterday to eliminate the prospect of a death sentence for teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo, the younger in a pair of men accused in a three-week shooting rampage that left 10 people dead in the Washington area nearly a year ago.

September 19, 2003

Va. prosecutors are to receive Malvo's mental health report

Lawyers for teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo are scheduled to give Fairfax County, Va., prosecutors a mental health report on their client today, advising prosecutors of the psychological issues they will raise during a sentencing hearing if Malvo is convicted of capital murder.

September 15, 2003

New book puts Moose back in spotlight

BETHESDA - Charles A. Moose, who famously battled the press during last fall's sniper manhunt and claims in his new book that the media's conduct contributed to five shootings, is now pitching his book like any other celebrity - in the media.

September 12, 2003

Prosecutors resist sharing details of case against Malvo

FAIRFAX, Va. - Prosecutors in the case against sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo are opposing defense lawyers' demands for a detailed account of the government's theory of the case.

September 11, 2003

Judge allows open hearing in sniper case

MANASSAS, Va. - A judge denied a request yesterday by sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad's attorneys to close a hearing on the admissibility of potentially inflammatory evidence.

September 4, 2003

Muhammad defense might use mental state in Va. sniper case

Lawyers for sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad appear ready to use a mental health defense to save their client from the death penalty if he is convicted, according to court papers unsealed yesterday.

September 3, 2003

Va. judge to allow testimony by Malvo's Supermax guards

A Fairfax County, Va., judge ruled yesterday that jurors may hear testimony from two Supermax prison officers who say that teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo bragged to them about killings, shootings and other near-attacks after he was arrested last fall.

August 27, 2003

Sniper case witness data ordered shared

MANASSAS, Va. - The statements of 13 witnesses who observed the relationship between sniper suspects John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, including one who said Muhammad "can't shoot worth a lick," must be turned over to the defense team if those statements point to Muhammad's innocence, a judge ruled yesterday.

August 28, 2003

Judge rejects request by Malvo's lawyers

FAIRFAX, Va. - A judge denied yesterday a request by teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo's lawyers for an accounting of all prosecution expenditures, which the defense argued would help them seek federal dollars to defend their client.

August 19, 2003

New violence tied to sniper suspect

MANASSAS, Va. - The string of cross-country violence attributed to sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad grew yesterday to include a mugging and a malicious wounding, according to court papers that also allege Muhammad said "America got what it deserved" on Sept. 11, 2001.

August 14, 2003

Towns measure media's wallet for sniper trials

Plenty of people in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Va., worry about the sniper trials invading their towns this fall. The traffic, the commotion, the media. The horror!

August 15, 2003

Prosecutors' tack in sniper cases contested

Prosecutors in the sniper cases appear to be pursuing two contradictory theories of the shootings in an attempt to secure the death penalty for both suspects, attorneys for John Allen Muhammad argued in court papers made public yesterday.

August 8, 2003

Muhammad lawyers argue against death

Lawyers for sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad made a sweeping case against the death penalty in court papers unsealed yesterday, arguing that recent evidence of the executions of innocent men as well as the subjective application of capital punishment make it unconstitutional.

August 6, 2003

Prosecutors face hurdle to get death penalty for Muhammad

MANASSAS, Va. - To get the death penalty for sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad, prosecutors must show he killed more than one person over a three-year period - or else rely on the state's new terrorism act, which has yet to pass judicial review.

July 9, 2003

Moose, ethics panel reach deal letting him write book

ROCKVILLE - Former Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose will be able to write his book under an agreement reached yesterday with the county ethics commission, his attorney said.

July 1, 2003

Sniper suspect's lawyers urge judge to move trial from Washington area

MANASSAS, Va. - Lawyers for sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad withdrew a request yesterday that their client be tried by a judge instead of a jury, and the judge in the case said he would consider moving the trial elsewhere in Virginia to ensure a fair trial.

July 25, 2003

Malvo told jailers of plans for Baltimore

FAIRFAX, Va. - Teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo told Supermax jailers that he intended to shoot a pregnant woman at a Baltimore cemetery and a city police officer, correctional officers testified yesterday, offering fresh details about the activities of the two suspects accused of terrifying the Baltimore to Richmond corridor with random shootings last fall.

July 22, 2003

Federal funds sought for Malvo's defense

Contending that the Fairfax County, Va., prosecutors of teen-age sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo are receiving federal help, lawyers for Malvo indicated yesterday that they hope to obtain federal funds toward his capital murder defense.

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