- The Washington Times - Friday, May 26, 2006

12:49 p.m.

Montgomery County’s trial of convicted sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad is moving toward closing arguments this afternoon after the defendant declined to testify in his defense this morning.

“Muhammad has no intention of testifying,” he told Circuit Court Judge James L. Ryan.

Deputy States Attorney Katherine Winfree asked the judge to question Muhammad more closely, “so the record is clear that he is doing it knowingly and voluntarily.”

The defendant, who has been acting as his own lawyer, said: “Ive stated my desire and thats it. I have no more elaboration.”

Muhammad, 45, called one witness this morning and tried to call one more, but Judge Ryan refused his last witness.

Muhammad said his last witness, Clyde Wilson, had come from Atlanta of his own volition to testify about the Sept. 21, 2002, shootings of Claudine Lee Parker, 52, and Kellie Adams, 24, in Montgomery, Ala.

The two women were shot two weeks before 10 persons were killed and three wounded during a three-week sniper spree in October 2002. Muhammad, who already has been convicted of one of those killings in Virginia, is being tried on charges of murdering six persons in Montgomery County, where the sniper spree began and ended.

According to Muhammad, Mr. Wilson would testify that he chased a suspect from the scene of the Alabama shootings but that the person he chased was not Lee Boyd Malvo, Muhammads accomplice.

“This is a very key witness and the state knows that,” Muhammad said. “To disprove one thing theyve said is to disprove everything.”

The judge refused the witness because Muhammad had not told prosecutors about the witness beforehand.

When Muhammads standby attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon, protested, Judge Ryan told him that he respected his “aggressive” defense but that he would remove him from the courtroom if he did not stop talking.

Muhammad is representing himself, and Mr. Gordon is limited to a nonspeaking role.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Wilson said he heard a shot outside a liquor store, 20 feet away, where Ms. Parker and Ms. Adams were shot.

He then chased a person from in front of the liquor store, but said, “The guy I saw … wasnt Malvo.”

Malvo, 21, testified against Muhammad this week and said that Muhammad shot the two women with a rifle from a distance and that he robbed the women afterward.

A Virginia Beach jury sentenced Muhammad to death in 2003, and authorities said they brought him to Maryland in case his conviction is overturned on appeal.

A Chesapeake, Va., jury found Malvo guilty and sentenced him to life in prison without parole. He has pleaded guilty to the six murders in Montgomery County.

Related article:

Muhammad gets little help from his witnesses

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