DC Sniper Lee Boyd Malvo: 10 Years Later

It has been 10 years since John Muhammed and then juvenile Lee Boyd Malvo went on a multi-state shooting spree that killed 10 people. Muhammed was executed in 2009, and Lee Boyd Malvo, now 26, is serving life.

The Washington Post recently interviewed Malvo in prison. (Audio here.)

His killer stare seems to have softened. He speaks with animation and poise, and with an adult perspective on what he did. He claims to understand the enormity of his actions....

“I was a monster,” Malvo said. “If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is. I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so. . . . There is no rhyme or reason or sense.”


Malvo is serving his life sentence at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia.

He is confined to a small, segregation cell 23 hours a day — he gets to exercise in an enclosed pen, take showers and sometimes do menial jobs on his own during that other hour. He has no physical interaction with other inmates. He has taken a deep interest in yoga and meditation. He writes poetry, draws and corresponds with people by mail....

The Post says he is "at peace" with his life sentence. Malvo says: “I see opportunity everywhere.”

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  • Display: Sort:
    Why is he in solitary instead (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 03:32:52 AM EST
    of out in the general population? Was that a part of his sentence?

    Maybe protective (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:01:44 AM EST
    High profile crime.  Prisoners of his infamy, I would think, are segregated often so they don't become the next fame kill for some other inmate.

    It was a very nerve-wracking time; (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Anne on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:54:57 AM EST
    even though I lived 50 miles north of DC, I remember that fear every time I pulled into a gas station to get gas.  The randomness of the shootings had everyone on edge - you just never knew when or where the next one would take place.  I think many of us were hyper-vigilant - to a degree we weren't even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  With 9/11, it was always planes that stirred those feelings; with the snipers, it was cars and vans - and those were, of course, everywhere.

    Was Malvo a victim, too?  To some extent, absolutely; he was ripe for someone like Mohammed, and that was exploited to a fare-thee-well.

    I'm glad he sees that, glad he doesn't excuse his actions as a result of it.  And, yes, glad the state didn't complete the circle by executing him.

    The whole thing makes me sad for the too-many whose lives are just crap, who don't know any other way to function but to take others' lives down that same crappy road, to the inevitable crappy end.

    The families of the dead will never make sense of what happened to their loved ones - that's the insidiousness of random acts.  It isn't anything they did, it was just wrong place, wrong time - and that's what scared the rest of us: we never knew if the decision to stop off at the store or the gas station would be the random act that put us in the cross-hairs.

    It might be how those subjected to drone attacks feel all the time.

    I spent a month on business (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by NYShooter on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 04:32:23 PM EST
     in the Baltimore/DC area during the days of those hair-raising shootings. Do you remember those tents, and tarps, that many of the gas stations put over their pumps? Funny how a thin sheet of plastic gave you a small sense of security when filling up. Luckily I had a credit card and didn't have to walk from the pumps to the station, and being exposed to those snipers.

    I remember thinking, "here we are,  in the most technological, highly advanced civilization in history, and millions of us being paralyzed with fear by a couple of psychopaths in the trunk of a car."


    Yes, it was nerve-wracking (none / 0) (#7)
    by Zorba on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 02:09:44 PM EST
    Even though I knew rationally that we were very far out from where the attacks were occurring, I still looked over my shoulder whenever I went to get gas.
    On the other hand, they were caught at a rest stop on 70 West, not all that far from where we live.  

    Thanks for this post, J (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:06:00 AM EST
    A very thought provoking piece. I believe many things will be learned from this young man, things which will help us further understand the frailty and volatility of the human mind in these situations; and things which we could never benefit from had we executed him, which many people wanted to despite his age.

    It looks like Malvo himself (none / 0) (#6)
    by brodie on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 12:01:18 PM EST
    has benefitted as a person from time to reflect upon what he did, assuming sincerity here.  

    Important for the person in this life and for the person and society in the next life in the reincarnation scenario. Because if that does happen, is a fact not merely a belief, the new person next time emerges largely having worked out those demons, a preferred situation for all.  Not so, probably, for those executed, or at least that non reflection, non evolution outcome is one more downside of that inhumane and barbarous approach.


    Sounds like... (none / 0) (#4)
    by unitron on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:15:09 AM EST
    ...John Muhammed actually had 11 victims, in a way.

    it was more than "nerve wracking", it (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 02:50:19 PM EST
    was right up the street from me. one of those murders took place less than a mile from my house, across the street from where i got gas. i (and everyone else here) spent our time looking over our shoulders, as we went about our daily lives.

    i'm glad he seems to have grown up, but i want him to stay right where he is, for the rest of his life.

    he will stay there (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 03:33:19 AM EST
    for the rest of his life, his sentence is life without parole. He's not complaining or suggesting he should have received a lesser sentence.

    While he acknowledges there is no rhyme or reason to the crimes that can help the victims' families understand, at least he's made the effort to reach out and try and explain how he could have gotten to such a place and express his remorse. Had we killed him, like we did Muhammed and McVeigh, there would always be question marks. Dialogue is a better way to obtain closure than the execution.

    I hope he is at least able over the next decades to work his way down from the Supermax he is in with 23 hours a day of solitary, to a lesser security status where he can at least have some human contact. Even Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, has now "stepped down" to general population.

    Solitary confinement is nothing less than torture. Another great lie, the U.S. does not engage in torture.

    Check out Solitary Watch. I follow them on Twitter, they have interesting tweets all the time.