John Allen Muhammad
Time Magazine dubbed the gunman « The Beltway Sniper, » named for the highway encircling the Washington suburbs where the gunman shot 11 people, killing 9, at random in 2002. Newsweek called him « The Tarot Card Killer, » referring to a Tarot « Death » card found near one of the crime scenes.
He is scheduled to die today. Grace O’Brien chose the date during a teleconference with lawyers in the case Wednesday morning, said Jon Sheldon, an attorney for Muhammad. He said Muhammad plans to ask Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) for clemency and to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, his last remaining legal options after a federal appellate court rejected his latest appeal last month.
If those efforts fail, Muhammad probably will be strapped to a gurney at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, administered a series of three drugs and pronounced dead, which is Virginia’s method of executing prisoners by lethal injection. Virginia inmates can choose lethal injection or the electric chair, but under state law, inmates who make no choice automatically die by lethal injection — and most executions are carried out by that method.
Muhammad was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to death for killing Dean H. Meyers near Manassas in October 2002, one of 10 sniper slayings that month. His accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in a separate trial for a sniper killing in Fairfax County.