The death penalty phase is under way in the case of sniper defendant John Allen Muhammad. A jury in Virginia Beach, Va., found him guilty yesterday of capital murder in the Washington Beltway sniper spree, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot says.”The ultimate punishment is reserved for the worst of the worst,” prosecutor Richard A. Conway told jurors. “And folks, he still sits right in front of you, without a shred of remorse.”
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for six hours over two days to find Muhammad guilty of the fatal shooting of Dean H. Meyers, a civil engineer, on Oct. 9, 2002, at a gas station in Manassas, Va.
Muhammad's defense tried to make the jury consider another side of him: the loving father, loyal friend, hard worker, enthusiastic soldier. “There's a life to be weighed here,” defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro told the jury. “You must decide whether to authorize John's death. To kill him or to spare him. Either way, you'll put John in a box of some sort. One is made of concrete; one is made of pine.”
The Virginian-Pilot said jurors may find the death question tougher than the guilt-or-innocence one. They found Muhammad guilty of all four charges against him: two counts of capital murder, one count of conspiracy, and one weapons violation. One capital murder charges was filed under Virginia’s new terrorism law, passed after the terror attacks of 2001.