JARRATT, Va. – John Allen Muhammad, the sniper who kept the Washington region paralyzed by fear for three weeks as he and a young accomplice gunned down people at random, was executed last night by lethal injection.
Muhammad, a man who directed what many law enforcement officials consider one of the worst outbreaks of crime in the nation’s history, died in Virginia’s death chamber while relatives of his victims looked on. He and Jamaican immigrant Lee Boyd Malvo, then 17, killed 10 people in the Washington area during a terrifying October 2002 rampage; they also have been linked to shootings in several other states.
State authorities escorted Muhammad, in denim and flip-flops, into a small room at the Greensville Correctional Center and strapped him to a cross-shaped table. He was then injected with a series of lethal drugs beginning at 9:06 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m. Although he maintained his innocence to the very end, Muhammad, 48, ignored a request to make a final statement.
Prosecutors relied on untested Virginia terrorism laws that allowed them to seek convictions even if they couldn’t prove which of the two suspects fired the gun.
Muhammad was put to death for a single killing – the Oct. 9, 2002, sniper slaying of Dean Harold Meyers of Gaithersburg, Md., who was shot while he pumped gas outside Manassas.