Witness: Malvo Tried to Escape Shootings

Associated Press/December 3, 2003
By Sonja Barisic

Chesapeake, Va. -- Lee Boyd Malvo didn't say he was afraid of John Allen Muhammad when they visited Muhammad's family a few months before last year's sniper attacks, but he wrote a letter seeking a way to escape his "situation,"Muhammad's first wife testified.

Carol Williams told jurors Tuesday during Malvo's capital murder trial that she saw Muhammad and Malvo during their visit to Baton Rouge, La., in the summer of 2002, and that Muhammad introduced the teenager as his son.

"Lee was the most well-mannered, respectful child,"Williams said. "Everyone just fell in love with him because he was so nice."

Williams said she became concerned, though, when Malvo wrote a letter to her 17-year-old niece, "asking for help to get out of the situation that he was in."She said she and her sisters met to discuss what they could do to assist, but that she thought Malvo and Muhammad had left Baton Rouge by then.

Hearsay rules prevented Williams from saying more about the letter. Defense attorney Craig Cooley said outside court that he hopes to show the jury the letter on Wednesday, along with the anticipated testimony of the niece, LaToria Williams.

Cooley had referred to the letter during his opening statement Nov. 13, saying, "Lee kind of got a crush on one of John's nieces and wrote out a letter that he was despondent ... . He said that his mother had abandoned him, and I have a father who will kill me for a righteous society to prevail."

Malvo's lawyers are presenting an insanity defense, contending that Muhammad brainwashed Malvo and molded him into a killer to help him carry out the sniper attacks that left 10 dead in and around the nation's capital in October 2002.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Robert F. Horan Jr. asked Williams whether Malvo "ever expressed to you any fear of John Muhammad?"She quietly replied, "No."

Williams' son with Muhammad also testified Tuesday, describing his father as "a manipulator"who took advantage of other people's weaknesses.

Lindbergh Williams, 21, stayed with Muhammad in Washington state for a summer 10 years ago under a custody arrangement. He said that Muhammad convinced him his mother had abused him.

He said it took him several months to trust his mother again after he was returned to her.

Lindbergh Williams also testified that he still loves his father.

Defense attorney Thomas Walsh said after court that Lindbergh Williams planned to visit Muhammad Wednesday in jail.

Muhammad was convicted last month of capital murder and a jury recommended the death sentence. Malvo also faces the death penalty if convicted.

The two are charged in or linked to the killing of 10 people and the wounding of six in the D.C. area, plus shootings in Washington state, Arizona, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.