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Sniper Threatened to Kill Her, Ex-Wife Tells Court

November 20, 2003|From Times Wire Services

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The former wife of convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad testified at his sentencing Wednesday that he had threatened to kill her after the couple split up.

"He said ... 'You have become my enemy, and as my enemy I will kill you,' " Mildred Muhammad told the court.

She added that John Muhammad also said in early 2000, the year they divorced, that he wouldn't let her raise their three children. He took them with him to the Caribbean shortly afterward, although Mildred Muhammad regained custody the following year.

After that court hearing, in Washington state, Mildred Muhammad said her ex-husband stormed after her.

"I ran down the hall because of the way he was coming toward me. For me, I knew it was hostile. I knew he was coming for me," she said.

She left with the children for her home in Clinton, Md., the night after the hearing and said she didn't see her ex-husband again until Wednesday.

Defense lawyers presented family photographs showing the Muhammads and their three children, John Jr., Selena and Taalibah. They also offered letters written by the children to Muhammad during his trial.

Ten-year-old Taalibah wrote, "I miss you so much.... Why did you do all those shootings? ... I love you Daddy and I always will, no matter what."

Muhammad was convicted Monday of capital murder in the sniper shooting of Dean H. Meyers, one of the 10 people shot to death during three weeks of attacks that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area last fall.

In nearby Chesapeake, Va., fellow sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo's capital murder trial resumed Wednesday with testimony from Myrtha Cinada, whose father, 72-year-old Pascal Charlot, was the fifth victim of the sniper attacks.

Cinada fought back tears as she talked about how her pastor called to tell her that her father had been fatally shot on a street corner in Washington.

Malvo is being tried in another sniper slaying, that of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, shot outside a store in northern Virginia. But as in Muhammad's trial, prosecutors are presenting evidence from the other attacks to support the capital murder charges, one accusing Malvo of taking part in multiple murders and the other alleging the killings were designed to terrorize the population.

On Tuesday, the jury heard a tape of Malvo telling police that the sniper shootings were part of a strategy to throw the region into chaos and even bring martial law until the suspects got what they wanted.

He said the sniper team chose the affluent suburb of Montgomery County, Md., as the starting point for the shooting spree because "it's perfect." He said he expected everyone to "pitch in" to pay what the snipers asked.

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