Malvo Says Pair Planned Bombings

C. Benjamin Ford, Gazette (Gaithersburg, Md.), May 24, 2006

John Allen Muhammad wanted to spread terror nationally and planned to kill six people a day for a month before moving to an even deadlier “Phase 2” with explosives aimed at schools and hospitals, accused accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo testified Tuesday.

Malvo provided chilling eyewitness details about the October 2002 sniper attacks, from the meticulous planning that went into them to the random selection of people to kill.

Before testifying, Malvo, 21, told Judge James L. Ryan he plans to plead guilty to the six counts of murder he faces in Montgomery County for his role in the deaths. He already is sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted in Virginia in 2003.

He explained his reasoning for testifying later in the day.

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Malvo testified of a loving relationship with Muhammad in Jamaica, where they met and where the older man took him under his wing.

“He began introducing me as his son,” Malvo said.

Muhammad introduced him to the Nation of Islam, and said “the white man is the devil,” Malvo said.

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In July 2002, while they were in Louisiana, Muhammad told Malvo that they were going to Washington to terrorize the nation. “He said every day for a month there would be six slayings a day,” Malvo said.

The shootings would have been followed by an even more deadly “Phase 2,” with bombs planted at schools and hospitals to cause mass casualties, Malvo said.

“I asked him, ‘Why would we be doing this? Why not just get the children?’ He said, ‘No, this is final.’”

They bought a Chevrolet Caprice and cut a hole in the back to fire from, Malvo said. The two then scouted the area and installed mapping software on a laptop computer to help them plan escape routes, Malvo said.

Winfree asked why they selected Montgomery County.

“He said it was lower to upper middle class, mostly white,” Malvo said. “He thought this was the perfect area to terrorize. The chickens come home to roost.”

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