Documents On The "Beltway Sniper"

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EXCLUSIVE: MUHAMMAD ON TAPE A jovial, laughing John Allen Muhammad can be heard on an official audio recording of the alleged sniper's appearance last year in Pierce County District Court to formally change his name. In April 2001, Muhammad made a brief appearance before Judge Molly Davis to request that his name be formally changed from John Allen Williams for "religion purposes" (he had converted to Islam years earlier). When Davis granted the name change after only a few perfunctory questions, Muhammad joked, "I feel cheated," since he was not called on to present witnesses or paperwork or approach the bench. "These are fairly routine," Davis said.

Listen to the proceeding here:

Click here to read a hearing transcript.


FEDERAL CHARGES: Federal prosecutors today (10/29) filed this criminal complaint, charging alleged Beltway Sniper John Muhammad with 20 felony counts, including extortion and intent to commit murder. According to the accompanying probable cause affidavit, Muhammad once introduced Lee Boyd Malvo, his alleged teenage accomplice, as "Sniper" (Malvo is referred to as "John Doe, Juvenile" in the document). If convicted of the federal raps, Muhammad could face the death penalty. (12 pages)

WEAPONS EXPERT: Beltway Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad served in the U.S. Army for 15 years as a "demolitions/weapons expert" and could "make a weapon out of anything," his former wife once reported. According to Mildred Muhammad, she was hospitalized in May 2000 when she received a phone call from John Muhammad, who threatened to kill her. According to a report prepared by a Tacoma, Washington hospital security officer, Mildred Muhammad claimed that her husband--whom she described as "very charming"--had abducted the couple's three children as part of a custody dispute. She added that Muhammad was skilled in hand-to-hand fighting and that while he "owned no weapons," he did have "access to them." (2 pages)

FEDERAL CASE: Though murder raps are expected against Muhammad and his teenage cohort Lee Boyd Malvo, the only charge so far leveled against Muhammad is a single federal firearms count. According to this criminal complaint filed yesterday (10/23) in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Muhammad, who has used the aliases Wayne Weeks and Wayne Weekley, illegally possessed an assault rifle that he sought to outfit with a silencer. According to Robert Edward Holmes, a friend and former Army buddy of Muhammad's who was interviewed by the FBI, Muhammad recently showed him an AR-15 rifle and asked, "Can you imagine the damage you could do if you could shoot with a silencer?" Along with the AR-15, Holmes told authorities that Muhammad and an unnamed associate carried a book on how to make a sound suppressor. (5 pages)

ALABAMA CASE: Muhammad and Malvo were charged today (10/25) with capital murder for the September 21 killing of a liquor store clerk in Montgomery, Alabama. Along with the slaying of 52-year-old Claudine Parker, the two defendants were also charged with the attempted murder of Parker's co-worker, Kellie Adams, 24, who survived a gunshot wound to the neck. The criminal charges were filed against the pair in Montgomery's District Court. (4 pages)

SEARCH WARRANT: Hours after agents arrested the alleged Beltway killers, investigators filed this federal court application to search the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice in which Muhammad and Malvo were found sleeping. The search warrant application was approved by Jillyn Schulze, a federal magistrate. (6 pages)

INS REPORT: This is an Immigration and Naturalization report (first disclosed by columnist Michelle Malkin) describing Malvo's illegal entry into the United States. The December 2001 report was filed after INS agents were contacted by police in Bellingham, Washington. Cops there were apparently responding to a "custody dispute" between Malvo's mother and John Muhammad, whom the INS report describes as "no relation to the son, Lee Malvo." Immigration officials determined that the pair were in the country illegally and detained them. Both were later released from a Seattle INS detention facility, in lieu of a deportation hearing. (2 pages)

NAME CHANGE: In April 2001, John Allen Williams filed this application in Tacoma District Court to formally change his name to John Allen Muhammad, the name he had used since converting to Islam years ago. The switch was approved by Judge Molly Davis. (2 pages)

RESTRAINING ORDER: Muhammad was "very irrational" and regularly threatened to "destroy" his wife, who secured restraining orders against her estranged husband, a man she feared, in part, because "he was a demolition expert in the military." After Mildred Muhammad filed a petition in March 2000, a Superior Court judge in Tacoma issued an order of protection barring John Muhammad from contacting his wife and the couple's three children. (4 pages)

THREATENING: Mildred Muhammad had previously sought a restraining order in February 2000, but her petition was dismissed when she failed to appear in court. In the prior application, she alleged that her husband told her he would "not let me raise our children. His demeanor is such that it's a threat to me." (4 pages)

MECHANIC: In light of reports that Muhammad modified his Chevrolet Caprice with a "trapdoor" so that he could shoot at targets unseen from the inside of his car, these Washington court documents (from Muhammad's 2000 divorce case) show that the alleged sniper recently owned a Tacoma auto mechanic shop. Along with his business card, we've included an excerpt from a Muhammad affidavit mentioning his car repair business. (2 pages)

SHOPLIFT:Tacoma cops arrested Muhammad eight months ago on a misdemeanor shoplifting charge after he allegedly boosted $25 worth of groceries from the Pearl Street Market Place supermarket. When Muhammad failed to show for a March court date, a warrant was issued by a Tacoma Municipal Court judge, according to this official docket. (1 page)

MUG SHOTS: The Pierce County, Washington sheriff photographed Muhammad in 1995 after he was detained for a minor traffic violation. The mug shot on the right was released today (10/24) by investigators who did not detail the image's origin. (1 page)