Thursday, June 18, 2009

DC Sniper's Rampage Was DV-Related

I want to thank the Orlando Police Department for allowing me to attend their DV Training yesterday. The keynote speaker was Mildred Muhammad, ex-wife of DC Sniper John Allen Muhammad. After the Trauma is a non-profit organization she founded to help survivors of domestic violence re-establish their lives. She captivated the audience of over 100 law enforcement personnel and domestic violence advocates with her story of survival.

Muhammad's presentation cannot possibly be fully recounted in this forum. However, several things stood out to me. First of all, her husband was adversely changed by his service in the military. When he returned from Desert Storm, his personality was different. The military offers counseling to its soldiers. However, there is great reluctance to access these services because servicemen and women, especially those who aspire to a career in the military, don't want a blemish on their record. John did not get the counseling he needed after Desert Storm.

She spoke about how he used their three children to punish her for seeking a divorce. He abducted their children when they lived in Washington State and she did not see them for 18 months. She shared a number of shortcomings in "The System" and with friends/family that she had to overcome. She was finally reunited with her children because John filed for food stamps and had to use the childrens' real names to get them. Once their names were put into the database, they were flagged as having been abducted. She had left her contact information with the local shelter which was notified when the names were used. After an emergency custody hearing in October 2001, she was awarded sole custody and moved them to Maryland where she had relocated. She was permitted to remove them from that Court's jurisdiction because she was fleeing domestic violence. John was not awarded any visitation because he did not have a proper motion filed. The children had no idea that they had been kidnapped because their father told them that their mother was coming to see them, which of course, she never did. It took a long time for Mildred to convince them how desperately she tried to find them before the rift between them was healed.

In February 2002, a friend's niece was killed by John's 17-yr old partner / surrogate son Lee Boyd Malvo. It was later determined that Mildred's friend was the intended target.

The actual "Beltway Shootings" occurred in October 2002. Ten people lost their lives and three others were wounded. John's intent was for his ex-wife to be one of the victims (thereby avoiding suspicion about him as a possible suspect). His plan was to regain custody of their children after her death, collect her life insurance, and move to Canada after staging Lee Malvo's suicide. Malvo would be framed as the lone gunman.

An interesting story about Malvo is that while he was traveling with John, he became interested in the daughter of a friend. When their visit ended, Lee gave the girl a letter, which she did not open. Once Muhammad was named as the DC Sniper, she opened the letter from Lee. It contained a plea for help and said that John was going to kill him if he (Malvo) didn't obey him.
More to follow....

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