- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 21, 2007

BALTIMORE (AP) A drawing of Osama bin Laden purportedly done by D.C.-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo is being sold on a Web site, angering the families of victims.

The drawing is a black-and-white sketch and appears to depict bin Laden. It was posted April 14 on a site called “murderauction.com.” The seller is known only as “Redrum,” the word “murder” spelled backward.

The authenticity of the drawing could not be confirmed, but it is consistent with artwork the sniper was known to produce while in jail awaiting trial in Virginia in 2003.

His attorneys used some of it in an unsuccessful effort to mount an insanity defense in that trial.

Relatives of victims contacted Friday by the Baltimore Sun were furious at the apparent commercialization of the art.

“Are you serious?” asked Denise Johnson, whose husband, bus driver Conrad E. Johnson, was the last person gunned down by the snipers.

“I think that’s ridiculous,” said Victoria Snider, the sister of Sonny Buchanan, who was shot in the back while mowing grass at a car dealership in Kensington. “I don’t think he should be allowed to make any profit at all. If they make anything, it should go to the prison and go to getting them help.”

Visitors to the Web site could bid on the drawing or purchase it outright for $500.

On the Web page, it was described in a message with numerous misspellings as “a drawing of Oussama Bin Laden. It was done from prison by Washington sniper Lee Malvo.”

The site also says that Malvo signed the drawing twice, and that it is “100% Authentic !!!”

Efforts to reach via e-mail the Georgia-based operator of the site or the seller of the drawing were unsuccessful. The seller, whom the site lists as being based in Canada, has a wide range of other items for sale on the site, including a letter purportedly written by “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz and an autographed O.J. Simpson picture.

The selling of what is said to be Malvo’s work follows a trend that has existed nationwide, said Andy Kahan, the director of crime victim assistance for the city of Houston. At least three other Web sites have appeared in recent years selling similar merchandise, Mr. Kahan said.

“The bottom line is that you have people profiting off the grief of crime victims and their families,” Mr. Kahan said. “This would be a worthless piece of junk if it didn’t have Malvo’s name on it.”

Malvo, 22, is serving multiple life terms for his role in the 2002 sniper shootings that left 10 persons dead and three wounded in the District, Maryland and Virginia. His mentor, John Allen Muhammad, 46, is on death row in Virginia.

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