tv I Married the Beltway Sniper MSNBC December 5, 2015 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
>> he's 13. >> oh, my goodness. >> okay, i know. >> let me go! let me go past. >> what's your cell phone number? >> i've got to go past let me go past! >> miss brown, miss brown. >> the safest place for the children right now is inside of that building. with adults. so i think it is in the best interests of the children that they stay inside of the schools, and that they're not out and about at this point. so we're not going to dismiss school. we're going to keep school in session and we are going to secure students within buildings. >> after several hours of surgery, the doctors saved 13-year-old ayron brown's life.
>> you cannot see fear, only feel it and count the casualties. we try to cope with a terror unseen. which has left us both changed and diminished. as fear stalk as community. >> someone is so mean-spirited, that they shot a child. now all of our victims have been innocent, have been defenseless. but now we're stepping over the line. because our children don't deserve this. i guess it's getting to be really, really personal now. >> the newest attack, directly on the heels of an assurance that children are safe, raises terrifying new questions about
the snipers. >> people wondered if the snipers were watching the coverage and of course now we know they were. they saw them cry that day, they laughed at that, because they thought we're getting to him and now he can't think straight. we're getting him upset and that's what they were trying to do as part of their battle plan. >> the shooting of 13-year-old iyron brown escalates d.c. pa c panic. what investigators find next will bring that panic to a fever pitch. >> the investigators are in the woods near the school. looking for any clue. and in the woods they found a tarot card. it was the death card with a skeleton on a horse. and it was a clue to the police.
>> we got the pack of tarot cards. he wanted to leave a cynical message. he told me to write something. i wrote for you, mr. police. call me god. do not release to the press. >> the reading of the tarot card, call me god was really our first look into the cold-blooded murderer's soul here. >> by the time they were leaving messages like call me god on a tarot card, it was clear they were enjoying the killing spree, but for very different reasons.
>> all of these things made them feel superior, made them feel important. after all, that was the thing that was lacking in their biographies from an early age, this feeling of importance and feeling special. they were playing a cat and mouse game with law enforcement. although the card had instructions not to release to the press, information about the tarot card was leaked. fearing the loss of the first chance to communicate with the snipers, the taskforce responds to the leak with an attack. >> i have not received any message that the citizens of montgomery county, channel 9, or "the washington post" or any other media outlet to solve this case, if they do, let me know. we will go and do other police work and we will turn this case over to the media, but to date,
the people in my community asked the police department to work the case. so i beg of the media, let us do our job. >> now what we know is that he was trying to really speak to the snipers and to say to them i didn't release this. i didn't release this tarot card. please, still call us. >> mildred has more to fear than anyone else. the man she has been running from is about to catch up with her. >> october 11. my co-worker picked me up for work. she said you know, there's a dark colored car out there. i get an eery feeling from it. so we passed by the car. the driver looks at us. the passenger has a newspaper to hide his identity. i said did you see that? she said yes.
>> it's been a day of chasing down incidents, near a school, a man seen going in the woods with a long, black bag. huge police response, fbi helicopter, too. again, nothing found. >> you never know where you're safe at. i mean, i'm a victim sitting right here, could be. >> 911, what's your emergency. >> somebody got shot. by the sunoco. >> what's the number there? >> 7209 i think. the guy is dead. he's laying on the car. >> dean meyers. nobody wants to kill him. he's an honest man. he's a veteran. he's pumping gas. it's just totally a random,
useless, cold-blooded act. nothing else. >> authorities say it appears the sniper who has been terrorizing this region has struck again. >> it was the sniper's boldest attack so far in broad daylight, within 50 yards of a virginia state trooper, who was working a traffic accident. >> the sniper's tenth victim spent his life encouraging people to trust in themselves. he left behind a wife, children, and friends and admirers.
>> been shot. >> where are you at? >> home depot. >> home depot? >> yes, on route 50. >> route 50? >> yes. >> your wife is shot? >> yes. >> where has she been shot? >> she's shot in the head! [ crying ] >> to hear his, the panic in linda franklin's husband's voice is just mind boggling and just to hear what he says. he's with his wife and a minute
later -- his 911 call is about the most emotional thing you're ever going to hear. >> mohammed and malvo didn't use vulnerability except to the extent the victims were in public places. and how, what are you supposed to do if you live in the d.c.,,, area, are you supposed to stay in your own home and never come out? because that would be the only way you would be safe. i've studied serial killers now for more than 25 years, and many of them, maybe most of them, have a need to feel important, to be in control of things.
they decide who lives, who dies, they decide how much suffering someone experiences, and that makes them feel good. >> you know, it was maryland, now over at falls church, men as is, so many neighborhoods that are populated. if you start shooting at home depots and gas stations, there's unlimited places to go. how do we get ahead of him. how do we get into every parking lot, how do we lockdown places like the capitol beltway. if yand you're talking toevere rheumyour rheumatologiste me, about a biologic... this is humira.
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mess they created, the havoc, the fear, the terror. >> they shifted their motivation so that they were enjoying the infamy, celebrity status. they were on the cover of magazines, in the headlines every day. knew there was terror. knew schools were being closed and people were putting tarps over the gas pumps. they understood that they were in charge of that community now, and there was nothing anybody could do to stop them. >> weekend shooting outside a steakhouse restaurant critically injuring a man now struggling for his life at a local hospital.
>> we're looking at multiple surgeries to keep him alive. >> the shooting prompted a massive search in tiny ashland, virginia, near richmond. a message apparently left at the crime scene and a telephone number which sources tell nbc news are believed to be from the sniper. >> this letter was more in depth. it was longer. there were demands. there was frustration. because what we all didn't know at that point was that the snipers were trying to communicate with the police and the press, and they could not get through. the fbi had set up a tip line. some days, 20 to 30,000 tips came in a day, so this was like finding a needle in a haystack. and they couldn't get through. they created this terrible mess and they couldn't get through. this line is recorded. >> good morning.
don't say anything, just listen. we are the people that are causing the killing in your area. look on the tarot card. it says call me god. do not release the card. we have called you three times before trying to set up negotiations we have gotten no response. people have died. >> sir, i'm going to need you to call the other hot line. we're not investigating the crime. would you like the number? >> they are listing we called this time, this time, can't get through, they're frustrated. they have a new demand. they wanted $10 million. >> though they evolved, we're big, we're bad, look, everybody is paying attention to us. it was a weakness for them as well. so now they thought, you know, we're so important, maybe we can parlay this into money. mildred became a little
secondary. the blood sport was still there, but yet now they were trying to profit from their evil. >> washington's suburbs wait, dreading another of the now familiar bulletins. passing by white vans were routinely stopped for questioning, and worrying about everyday chores like pumping gas. >> we're noticing people don't want to get out of their automobiles to get fuel. we offered service on both, self and full service, don't care where they pull in, we'll pump their gas if that's what they would like. you can tell the tension is high. >> in the past several days you
have attempted to communicate with us. we researched the option you stated and found it is not possible electronically to comply in the manner you requested. >> that was also part of the strategy. if they're talking to us, occupied with us, negotiating for money, if somebody is not dying, that's okay. i want to go a day without somebody dying. >> i think at that point the motivation shifted. i think they realized at that point that they would not get the money, that they were better killers than they were extortionists, and instead, they enjoyed the fame, the celebrity that they were getting, that they were making the headlines, they were terrifying the community. >> we remain open and ready to talk to you about the options you have mentioned. it is important that we do this without anyone else getting hurt.
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hi, richard lui with this hour's top stories. president obama is going to address the nation sunday night about the country's security. eel update the investigation into the san bernardino attacks and will also go over steps being take ton keep the homeland safe and defeat isis. meanwhile the fbi raided the house next door to where the san bernardino shooters lived. the man believed to have originally bought the assault rifles used in the attack lived in that house. though he is not considered a suspect in the shooting. now back to our regular programming.
they shut it off from here. >> where? >> by the post office. i'm scared. please send some help. >> we'll be right there. >> police say johnson was doing paperwork before his routes, standing on the top step, the door open, he was shot in the chest, police believe from these nearby woods. grieving family members arrived at the hospital, and johnson, married father of two, was dead. >> i remember this one was so frustrating for investigators. first of all, it was back in montgomery county where everything had started, back in aspen hill. investigators came to that scene and they were so frustrated. and the police, the fbi, the atf knew they had to move quickly before someone else was shot.
i believe to this day that the case might not have been solved if not for the fact that muhammad and malvo gave very important clues to the police. >> october 17th. agents say a caller thought to be the sniper himself phones the taskforce headquarters to brag of a connection between his attacks and the robbery of a liquor store in montgomery, alabama four weeks ago in which a woman was killed. >> the snipers tried to call law enforcement. they would dial a certain 911, get a city police. >> lee malvo mentioned a shooting in montgomery, alabama. they wanted to say we're big, we're bad, we're national. we're not just two little snipers, we've committed crimes in other places. the police checked into the shooting in montgomery, alabama, and in fact, muhammad and malvo shot two women coming out of a liquor store.
in their haste, they had dropped a magazine. on that magazine was a fingerprint. that fingerprint traced back to the state of washington in tacoma, bellingham area. >> another look at calls from washington state. uncovers an unexplored lead from a man named robert holmes. >> robert holmes, john's friend, said he called the fbi in the middle of the shootings and said i don't know anything about your investigation, but you may want to look at john allen muhammad. his ex-wife is in the area and he may be there to harm her. >> when muhammad lost his children and started hanging around with lee malvo, he stayed with robert holmes a couple of times, and robert holmes knew john muhammad was angry, bitter toward this country, angry toward mildred muhammad who
moved to maryland with his children, and had a side kick, lee malvo. robert holmes is watching this two weeks into the shootings and he thought that's john doing that. he picked up the phone and called the fbi. the problem is that the holmes tip got lost in the shuffle. it was one of 80,000. and it wasn't until the fingerprint connection and they ran muhammad's name, and low and behold, there was robert holmes' tip. and then all of the pieces started to fall into place. >> a federal arrest warrant was issued for john allen muhammad, also known as john allen williams. he should be considered armed and dangerous. he may be in the company of a juvenile.
>> atf knocks on my door, and they said when was the last time you saw john muhammad. my hands began sweating immediately. miss muhammad, we just going to have to tell you, we think your ex-husband is the sniper. my head hit the table, bam. do you think he would do something like this? i was like oh, oh! oh, yeah. >> can you imagine a policeman on federal agent coming to your house and saying your husband, ex-husband, even a friend of yours could be the person who's
responsible for killing ten people or eleven people? that's a punch in the face for someone to hear that. >> they said would you like to go to protective custody? i said you have to ask me that? they said yes, ma'am, because everybody don't want to go. i said okay, have you caught him yet? no, ma'am. >> that night, the license plate goes out on the radio, and whitney donahue, a refrigerator repairman from pennsylvania is driving from his job that day in menassis, he is on the interstate, hears that, thinks i know what a chevy caprice looks like, he knows cars, and he jots down the license plate. he thinks just to buy the time, i'll look for it. he is driving along and pulls into a rest stop.
i was supposed to cover, but i failed. >> as residents, we felt like they really caught them and this was over. people were exhausted and incredibly relieved. the investigators were relieved, the reporters were relieved. >> let me let you see some of the home video that msnbc got earlier today from the rest stop on interstate 270 in frederick, maryland, about a 45 minute ride or so from washington, d.c.,,, we did observe what was later said to us to be a .223 assault rifle found in the trunk.
earlier, a lot of reports lee malvo was the stepson, msnbc reporting shows that's not the case. lee malvo refers to john muhammad as his, quote, play father. >> once muhammad and malvo were captured, you had a phenomenon of this 40 something man and this 16-year-old boy as being this sort of unlikely team that's going to put the whole capital region in fear and lockdown for a month. i don't think any of us could have predicted this kind of scenario. >> lee malvo's initial confession reveals a disturbing loyalty to john muhammad. >> can i ask one question now? >> you can ask anything you want. >> where's my father. >> where is he? that's a good question. im's not basing this on television.
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montgomery county, maryland residents were so relieved, they formed an impromptu parade, honking their horns as salutes to police, dropping off cookies and treats at the end of the siege. >> i think the elation at the command post was the killing is over. the case ain't over, but the killing is over. i received a call at my office asking if i would be interested in assisting on the lee malvo case. i was told that lee was so far
gone that his personality had submerged with john muhammad. you know, it's bad. it would take years for him to detach from that persona, but i felt that it was something that needed to be given a try. and so i'm sitting across from this child, because you know, that's how he looked. he said they want to use me to kill my dad, but it's not going to happen. and he was very strong in making that statement. he looked at me and he said we are one. and so that suggested to me that his identity had been totally merged with this man's identity.
i recognized that i would not -- i could not fight him on this connection that he had. we had this defendant who took responsibility for all the shootings, because he was really supposed to be the sacrificial lamb, he was the one that was supposed to be sacrificed for his father, so that his father could be saved. so i went to jamaica. this is the home that lee lived in with his mother. >> and i met a lot of people. and every one talked about their love they had for this boy. and i had them on tape.
each person talked by the heart. i said lee might see this. i want you to send him a message. >> i just want to say i wish you all the best. keep your chin up. we all pray for you. >> and i can remember his -- he was watching the tape, and he was listening to everyone talk, say how much they cared about him, and then it got to his aunt. and she could only sing. and she sang great is thy faithfulness. ♪ great is thy faithfulness >> and she was singing with a booming voice. then i heard a singing. and it was lee singing.
and as he was singing, it reached a crescendo. ♪ lord unto me and then he wept. and he was reconnected to his roots. i can remember the psychologist said you needed to do this for a long time, lee. it was quite moving. >> closing arguments could begin in the penalty phase for convicted sniper john muhammad. in testimony wednesday, his wife said he threatened to kill her three years ago after the couple separated. she also read letters from their children, the youngest child asking your father, quote, why did you do all those shootings.
>> testifying in the trial was very traumatic and terrifying for me. the families were there. and i felt they blamed me for their family members being killed. they got to the part where my children had written their dad a letter. so i'm reading the letters, and john is reading the letter about how his dad was right, that the girls would like him more than the boys, and selena was telling him she played the violin and taliba, she said, daddy, just remember i love you no matter what. and so they started to show some of the video footage of john and the children when they were little and i looked over at him and i saw that he was smiling.
and i was so scared that he was going to get up from that table and come and snap my neck. >> as he has throughout the trial john muhammad displayed no emotion. when the verdict was read. death on two counts. >> death penalty reserved for the worst of the worst and thee think in mr. muhammad fell in that category and the jury agreed. >> i say, well, you know, they have a verdict for your dad and it just got quiet and they said, okay, let's hear. well, they found your dad guilty, i said. and i said they gave him the death penalty.
and when lee's trial began, i would walk through the house and talk about malvo and they corrected me. his name is not malvo, his name is lee. so with that burst of emotions then i had to take a step back and just listen to how they talked about lee. he was their best friend. and they talked about him with endearment. and i called my attorney and i said, we have to help this boy. he said humira is for adults like me who have tried other medications but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease. and that in clinical studies, the majority of patients on humira saw significant symptom relief. and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis.
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unsettled childhood. >> well, the verdict came down in the malvo case, it was almost as if literally it was a verdict of innocence or guilt and he was found not guilty and when i was interviewed immediately after that, downstairs from the courtroom, you know, i frankly said what i believed at the time to be just really logical. >> and by a life sentence, it minimizes what this man did. it minimizes it for the victims and the victims' families when you compare the two was malvo less guilty than muhammad? did he do things that were less? >> his feelings were for the victims and what he had taken away. the parent, the husbands, the fathers, the children who had been denied of their parents
because of his actions. and he was tormented. he was actually tormented. so it really was not so much about muhammad, it was, gosh, this is what i have -- my hands have done this. it was truly a period in his life where he really wanted death. he had spent more time with this man than he had spent with anyone on a continuous basis since he was 5 years old. it was this connection, you know, took a while before he
could see -- see it for what it actually was. i can remember i went to see him and he said carmita, this is going to be short. i want to testify against muhammad. i said, are you sure? he said, yes, i'm sure. it wasn't so much about feeling hatred for muhammad, it's, wow, this is my place in the universe, but the first thing that he had to do was he had to boldly stand with the victims. he had to testify with no strings, with no promises and he just spilled his guts. >> killer lee malvo will be back on the stand today testifying against his accomplice in the
d.c.,,, sniper trial. malvo confronted john allen muhammad calling him a coward. the younger sniper gave disturbing details of the attacks saying they planned to bomb schools and a police officer's funeral. muhammad is representing himself. his cross-examination of malvo will continue today. he is on death row in virginia and now faces six counts of murder in maryland. >> that whole process in terms of getting him to that point where he could go on the witness stand in 2006 and face muhammad and say to him, you took me to your home. you fed me. you clothed me. then you turned me into a monster. and this is what we did. despite what muhammad was saying he could have gotten to at that point but it was a process that
was gradual and it was a possess that took years to get him to that point. >> on november 10th, 2009, seven years after the sentence was given, john allen muhammed is executed in jared, virginia. >> i said from the start that i wouldn't go. i didn't feel like i needed to go and i just didn't need to see it to get any kind of feeling that it was over. >> when it was time for the execution, my children wanted to talk to their dad. they had never talked to him the whole time he was incarcerated. i asked his attorney if he could have the number to call and my children waited until 9:00 but the execution was done.
taliba was crying uncontrollably. and i was holding her and she looked at me and i know she was looking for something in my eyes, but it wasn't there. i had totally disconnected emotionally from john a long time ago. i didn't need his execution to take place to have closure. my children have a different aura about them. it's like, okay, i can finally put this to rest so now i can really move forward. i don't have this in the back of my head now. i can move and go on and they have a different type of joy.
>> i saw lee because i wanted to know how he's going to deal with the execution of john muhammad that took place on november 10th. and i asked him, i said, how do you feel about him and i said -- he said, i feel pity. i said, pity? that's a sort of weird kind of feeling to have. he said, i pity him, because he has not come to recognize what he did. he has not reached the point where he could save what he did and seek forgiveness and so he's going to leave this earth not acknowledging and not having any sense of having forgiveness, given forgiveness even from his maker.