Washington state

Capital sniper may die Nov. 10

WASHINGTON – A Northern Virginia judge on Wednesday set Nov. 10 as the execution date for sniper John Allen Muhammad, whose wave of random shootings terrified the Washington region in 2002.

Prince William County Circuit Court Judge Mary Grace O’Brien chose the date at 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 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, Va., administered a succession 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 have been carried out by that method.

Muhammad was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to death for killing Dean Meyers near Manassas, Va., 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, Va.

Malvo and Muhammad lived in Tacoma before heading east and beginning their string of random sniper shootings. Malvo has admitted killing Keenya Cook in Tacoma in February 2002, telling police and psychiatrists the shooting was Muhammad’s way of testing him.

The News Tribune contributed to this report.