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Reward in D.C. Sniper Case Is Split

March 20, 2004|From the Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Officials have decided to divide the $500,000 reward in the Washington, D.C., area sniper case between two recipients: a Tacoma, Wash., man who was the first to identify John Allen Muhammad as a suspect, and a motorist who directed police to Muhammad's car at a rural Maryland rest stop, where he and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested.

Montgomery County, Md., Executive Douglas Duncan said Friday that he planned to announce today that $350,000 would go to Robert Holmes, 47, who tipped the FBI during the October 2002 sniper manhunt that he suspected that his friend Muhammad was the shooter. Duncan said $150,000 will be given to Whitney Donahue, 38, of Greencastle, Pa., who spotted Muhammad's Chevrolet Caprice in a Frederick County, Md., rest area after hearing a news report that sniper investigators were searching for the vehicle.

The two were selected from among more than 60,000 tipsters who called authorities during the three-week series of shootings, which killed 10 people, wounded three and spread fear and disruption across the Washington region. Muhammad, 43, has been sentenced to death in Virginia for one of the killings, and Malvo, 19, convicted in another of the slayings, is serving a life term in Virginia without the possibility of parole.

In an interview Friday, Holmes, who had not been officially notified of the distribution decision, said he was satisfied with his reward in the case.

"I wish it had never happened, and it wasn't about the money," Holmes, an auto mechanic, said of his involvement in the sniper case. He served in the Army with Muhammad in the late 1980s and kept in touch with him afterward. He said he considered Muhammad a friend.

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