November 10th, 2012 Headsman
On this date in 2009, D.C. sniper John Muhammad was executed by lethal injection in Virginia.
Muhammad — born John Allen Williams; he renamed himself after joining the Nation of Islam — authored with Lee Boyd Malvo, a juvenile collaborator under his sway, a spree of random sniper attacks around the Washington D.C. suburbs that terrified the nation’s capital in October 2002.
The two were captured together sleeping out in their sniper-mobile — a Chevy Caprice with a hole drilled in the trunk for taking concealed potshots at gas stations and mall parking lots and the like. Although arrested initially in Maryland, the U.S. Attorney General forced their case to the more aggressive death penalty jurisdiction of Virginia. (The two killed people in both states, tallying 10 dead and three wounded all told.)
From the time of his Oct. 24, 2002 arrest until the very end, Muhammad was frustratingly tight-lipped about how and why the carnage took place. Was it personal pique? Religious terrorism? Just a regular criminal racket?
In 2006 testimony, a now-contrite Lee Malvo — at one point he addressed Muhammad directly, saying “You took me into your house and you made me a monster” — outlined a plan that constituted a fearsomely nutty combination of motives: use the mayhem to extort millions of dollars, then take the money and set up a Canadian camp for 140 homeless black youth and rear them as terrorists. It’s just possible that this proposed enterprise pushed every single button in the collective American id.
(Malvo himself pled out to the murders, accepting six life sentences.)
Also on this date
- 1571: Anneken Hendriks, cursed Mennonist
- 1834: The bushrangers John Jenkins and Thomas Tattersdale
- 1865: Henry Wirz, for detainee abuse
- 1780: Corregidor Antonio de Arriaga, by his slave
- 1954: Hossein Fatemi, before the blowback
- 1995: Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni Nine
Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,History,Lethal Injection,Murder,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Ripped from the Headlines,Serial Killers,Terrorists,USA,Virginia