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John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo

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Real World Bio
Muhammad and Malvo
Name John Allen Muhammad
Lee Boyd Malvo
Alias The Beltway Sniper
The D.C. Sniper
The Washington Sniper
John Allen Williams (Muhammad)
John Allen Malvo (Malvo)
Gender Both male
Birth Date December 31, 1960 (Muhammad)
February 18, 1985 (Malvo)
Place of Birth Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Muhammad)
Kingston, Jamaica (Malvo)
Date of Death November 10, 2009 (Muhammad)
Place of Death Jarratt, Virginia (Muhammad)
Pathology Spree Killers
Snipers
Modus Operandi Shooting
Type Organized power-seeker (Muhammad)
No. of Victims 17 killed
10 injured
Status Deceased (Muhammad; executed)
Incarcerated (Malvo)

"Don't say anything. Just listen. Dearest police, Call me God. Do not release to the press. Five red stars. You have our terms. They are non-negotiable. If you choose Option 1, you will hold a press conference stating to the media that you believe you have caught the sniper like a duck in a noose. Repeat every word exactly as you heard it. If you choose Option 2, be sure to remember we will not deviate. P.S.-Your children are not safe."

John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, a.k.a. "The Beltway Sniper", "The D.C. Sniper" and "The Washington Sniper", were a pair of spree killers who murdered several people on the U.S. East Coast in October, 2002.

HistoryEdit

Muhammad

John Allen Muhammad.

Malvo

Lee Boyd Malvo.

Muhammad was born as John Allen Williams on December 31, 1960 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the Louisiana Army National Guard and volunteered for active duty in 1985. In 1987, he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his surname to Muhammad in 2001. During his time in the Army, he served as a mechanic, truck driver, and specialist metalworker and earned the Expert Rifleman’s Badge, the highest possible marksmanship medal for a basic soldier in the U.S. Army. He was married twice. When his second wife, Mildred, divorced him, a bitter custody battle over their three children ensued, culminating with him taking them and moving with them to Antigua in the Caribbean. Muhammad tried to establish himself as a businessman there but ended up making a living selling false identity papers to locals who sought entry into the U.S. Around 1999, Muhammad met Una Sceon James and her son, Lee Boyd Malvo, in Antigua. Una, who became a close friend of Muhammad, later moved to Fort Myers, Florida using false documents and left Malvo in his care. In 2001, Muhammad, who claimed Malvo to be his stepson, moved to Bellingham, Washington and tried to enroll him and his three children in a school and was caught up by the authorities, who returned them to their mother. Malvo was reunited briefly with his mother in Miami, but they were arrested by the Border Patrol. Malvo was released on a $1,500 bond the next year and caught up with Muhammad again.

While the two of them lived at a homeless shelter in Bellingham, Malvo enrolled in high school but made no friends. Muhammad could afford frequent flights around the U.S. One of those trips was to Tacoma, where they tried to kill one of Mildred’s friends but ended up killing her niece instead. After a trip to Muhammad’s relatives in Louisiana, the two bought a 1990 Chevy Caprice and began a series of robberies and shootings in Louisiana, Alabama, and Maryland. During this time, they are believed to have committed another murder followed by seven more by the end of September. In 2002, Malvo shoplifted a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle from a firearms shop. Muhammad took up target practice at a gun range near the shop. On October 5, 2002, the duo began what became a full-scale spree of random shootings across Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Over the course of 23 days, they shot and killed 10 people and injured an additional three. One of those days, they were pulled over, but, since Muhammad had no outstanding warrants, were let go. At the peak of the rampage, people were afraid to leave the house. It was initially believed that the shootings were the work of a single man. The day after the last shooting, the police, acting on a phone tip, searched a house in Tacoma where Muhammad and Malvo had once lived. In January the same year, neighbors had complained that he had used the backyard for target practice. When the yard was searched, police found bullets and shell casings which were matched to those of the victims of the Beltway shootings. A nationwide alert for Muhammad and Malvo’s car was issued. On October 24, they were found sleeping in the car and arrested. A month-long trial with hundreds of pieces of evidence, including a series of pictures implicating the two as being terrorists, took place. In the end, Muhammad was sentenced to death on September, 2003 and executed by lethal injection on November 10, 2009. Malvo was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in October, 2003, a sentence he is currently serving at the Red Onion State Prison.

Modus OperandiEdit

Beltway Sniper Death Tarot

The Death Tarot card Muhammad and Malvo left at a crime scene.

During the Beltway shootings, Muhammad and Malvo killed their victims with the .223 semi-automatic Bushmaster XM-15 assault rifle stolen by Malvo. The victims were all completely random and of different ages and sexes and were killed with single shots from a distance of 50-100 yards, and many of them were shot at or near gas stations. The shots were fired from their car, which had been fitted with a small hole in the trunk just above the license plate from which they aimed. They left tarot cards as calling cards at several crime scenes. One notable one, the Death card, had the phrase "Call me God" written on the front, and "For you mr. Police", "Code: Call me God" and "Do not release to the press" on the back. At some point, they also left a ransom note demanding ten million dollars. Prior to the Beltway shootings, they used different guns to attack their victims.

ProfileEdit

To date, the true motive of the Beltway shootings remains something of a mystery. According to Mildred Muhammad, it was meant to be an elaborate plan to later kill her so Muhammad could gain custody over their children. On the other hand, some prosecutors argued that it was meant to be an act of terrorism, using various jihad-related images in their possession as proof. According to Malvo's testimony, the shootings were meant to be a three-phase plan. The first phase was to plan the shootings, the second, which was intended to take place in Baltimore, was killing a pregnant woman by shooting her in the stomach, then killing a police officer and place explosive devices at his funeral to kill attenders. The third phase was extorting money from the U.S. government and using the funds to create a sanctuary in Canada for homeless black orphans and teach them the handling of firearms, a skill they would then use to commit shootings across the U.S.

Known VictimsEdit

DC Sniper victims

Some of Muhammad and Malvo's victims.

  • 2002:
    • February 16, Tacoma, Washington: Keenya Nicole Cook, 21 (shot in the face with a .45; Malvo confessed to the murder)
    • February or March[1], Los Angeles, California: An unidentified man (shot and killed during a robbery; not publicly identified)
    • March 19, Tucson, Arizona: Jerry Ray Taylor, 60 (shot in the back with an unspecified gun; Muhammad confessed to the murder)
    • May 18, Clearwater, Florida: An unidentified man, 76 (survived; not publicly identified)
    • May 27, Denton, Texas: Billy Gene Dillon, 37
    • August 1, Hammond, Louisiana: John Gaeta (shot in the neck and back, then robbed; survived)
    • September 5, Clinton, Maryland: Paul LaRuffa, 55 (shot six times at close range with a .22 revolver; survived)
    • September 14, Silver Springs, Maryland: Rupinder "Benny" Oberoi, 22 (shot once; survived)
    • September 15, Brandywine, Maryland: Muhammad Rashid (shot with a .22 revolver; survived)
    • September 21:
      • Atlanta, Georgia: Million Waldemariam, 41 (shot in the head and back with a .22 handgun; attributed to Muhammad)
      • Montgomery, Alabama: The liquor store robbery:
        • Claudine Lee Parker (shot with a .22 handgun)
        • Kellie Adams (shot with the same handgun; survived)
    • September 23, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Hong Im Ballenger (shot in the head)
    • September 26, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Wright Williams, Jr. (survived)
    • The Beltway shootings:
      • October 2:
        • Aspen Hill, Maryland: A victimless shooting at a Michaels craft store
        • Wheaton, Maryland: James Martin, 55
      • The October 3 shootings:
        • Rockville, Maryland: James Buchanan, 39 (shot in the chest)
        • Aspen Hill, Maryland: Premkumar Walekar, 54 (shot in the chest like the previous victim)
        • Norbeck, Maryland: Sarah Ramos, 34 (shot in the head)
        • Kensington, Maryland: Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25
        • Washington, D.C.: Pascal Charlot, 72
      • October 4, Spotsylvania, Virginia: Caroline Seawell, 43 (shot through the lower back; survived)
      • October 7, Bowie, Maryland: Iran Brown, 13 (shot in the chest; survived)
      • October 9, Manassas, Virginia: Dean Harold Meyers, 53 (shot in the head)
      • October 11, Fredericksburg, Virginia: Kenneth Bridges, 53
      • October 14, Fairfax County, Virginia: Linda Franklin, 47
      • October 19, Ashland, Virginia: Jeffrey Hopper, 37 (survived)
      • October 22, Aspen Hill, Maryland: Conrad Johnson, 35 (shot in the abdomen; survived, but died at a hospital)

CopycatsEdit

Charles McCoy

Charles McCoy, Jr.

To date, there have been two killers who emulated the Beltway shootings:

  • Shawn Lester
    • Shot and killed three people in a four-day span on August 2003
    • Operated in West Virginia
    • Used a .22-caliber rifle to kill at least two of his victims
    • Was arrested on 2011 and indicted on all three murders
    • Pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of one of his victims, while charges for the other two victims were dropped
    • Sentenced to 40 years in prison
  • Charles McCoy, Jr.
    • Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1996
    • Committed a total of 24 sniper shootings along highways in Ohio
    • Hit only one person, 62-year-old Gail Knisley, who died
    • Shootings began on May 2003 and lasted for several months, causing widespread fear
    • Arrested on March 2004 and stood trial the next year
    • Sentenced to 27 years in prison on August 2005 after legal complications

On Criminal MindsEdit

The first reference to Muhammad and Malvo on Criminal Minds was in L.D.S.K., when the BAU dealt with a sniper. When the profile is given, the screen shows images of a Death Tarot card, just like the one the Beltway Snipers left behind. Another noteworthy reference was in Lo-Fi, when a member of a terrorist group left behind the same kind of Death Tarot card that the Beltway Snipers left behind at a crime scene. They were later mentioned in The Apprenticeship, where their mentor-student relationship was compared to that of the current unsubs. The latest reference to them was in Final Shot, where the BAU compared the unsub's motivations of having a specific target and killing random victims just as a forensic countermeasure to a well-known theory that Muhammad committed the Beltway shootings to cover up the eventual assassination of his own ex-wife. Also, like Muhammad and Malvo, the unsub committed a sniper shooting at a gas station. The aspect of their original plan (them recruiting orphaned boys, training them in the usage of firearms and stealth, and using them to commit shooting sprees in Canada) also sounds similar to the M.O. of Wayne Gulino, who abducted boys and turned them into his own personal army, using them to commit a spree of shootings and bombings.

SourcesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Time of shooting unknown

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