John Allen Muhammad is scheduled to die by lethal injection today at the Greensville Correctional Facility for the deaths of at least ten people during a three-week killing spree in October 2002.
His lawyer, Jon Sheldon and co-counsel James G. Connell, are still working to prevent that from happening. From the Washington Post:
"They condemn the man's crimes. But during the past three years, they have spent hours talking with him — in person and by phone — and they have come to see some humanity in the man many see only as a monster.
"I perfectly understand the families of the victims want to throttle him. It is hard to get a handle on the amount of damage he has done," Sheldon said. "John Allen Muhammad is absolutely responsible. He's guilty. But there are glimpses of him being thoughtful. People don't want to see that. It's much easier to wrap him up into the thing he did."
Sheldon, who is also president of the board for Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said he thinks executions "erode" society. "It's not about him; it's about us," he said. 'When we see hatred and violence, what should our response be?'"
Sheldon asks an interesting question, albeit well-worn, question. What should our response be in the face of such violence?