Ten years after John Allen Muhammad and 13-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized the Washington, D.C., area with one of the most notorious killing sprees in the nation’s history, murdering 10 people and injuring more, Malvo — now an adult, and in prison for life — spoke to the Washington Post about how he says he was brainwashed to participate in the horrific acts.
He doesn’t hold back when it comes to criticizing the person he was in 2002 (“I was a monster,” he told the Post. “If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is. I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so .. . There is no rhyme or reason or sense”), but his new perspective about what happened and who he was leaves little question about how much he’s changed.
Over 21 days in October 2002, the pair ambushed 13 unsuspecting strangers, killing 10 of them, in the Washington area. They succeeded in terrorizing the region, as death could come anywhere, anytime: in gas stations and parking lots. They even shot and wounded a 13-year-old standing in front of a middle school. Sporting events were canceled. People cowered behind tarps as they filled their cars with gas. Parents kept their children home. After the two were caught, they were tied to at least 11 more shootings from Washington state to Alabama, five of them fatal.
Muhammad is gone — executed in 2009 for his crimes. Malvo, the scrawny teenager, the cold-blooded accomplice, is now 27.
His killer stare seems to have softened. He speaks with animation and poise, and with an adult perspective on what he did. He claims to understand the enormity of his actions — the trail of death and loss and pain he left behind — and believes that but for Muhammad, he might have accomplished something in life.
“When we interviewed him, our belief was that he was under the spell of Muhammad and that would wear off as time went on,” Garrett said Saturday. Interrogators “knew that he was covering for Muhammad. He wouldn’t put the gun in Muhammad’s hands in 2002. The spell was starting to wear off at trial, and now that he’s in jail for his entire life he’s probably being more realistic about what Muhammad did and didn’t do. He’s older, and he understands now how impressionable he was.”
Read more at the Washington Post.