2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 18, 2003
jury convicts sniper on all accounts
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - A
jury convicted John Allen Muhammad
of capital murder yesterday, conclud-
ing he used a rifle, a beat-up car and a
teenager who idolized him to kill ran-
domly and terrorize the Washington
area during last year's sniper spree.
The jury will now decide whether
the Army veteran should be sentenced
to death or life in prison. The penalty
phase was to begin in the afternoon.
Muhammad, 42, stood impassively
as the verdict was read, looking for-
ward. Two jurors held hands, and two
others were crying.
The jury deliberated for 6 1/2 hours
before convicting Muhammad of two
counts of capital murder. One accused
him of taking part in multiple murders,
the other - the result of a post-Sept.
11 terrorism law - alleged the killings
were designed to terrorize the popula-
tion. Muhammad is the first person
tried under the Virginia law.
Muhammad was found guilty of
killing Dean Harold Meyers, a Viet-
nam veteran who was cut down by a
single bullet that hit him in the head on
Oct. 9, 2002, as he filled his tank at a
Manassas gas station. He was also
found guilty of conspiracy to commit
murder and use of a firearm in a
The victim's brother Robert said he
believes Muhammad deserves the
death penalty: "I must say that I can't
think of too many more heinous crimes
than this one."
Fellow suspect Lee Boyd Malvo, 18,
is on trial separately in nearby Chesa-
peake for the killing of Linda Franklin
at a Home Depot in Falls Church. He
also could get the death penalty.
Malvo's attorneys are pursuing an
insanity defense, arguing that the
young man had been "indoctrinated"
In all, the two men were accused of
shooting 19 people - killing 13 and
wounding six - in Alabama, Georgia,
Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and
Washington, D.C., in what prosecutors
said was an attempt to extort $10 mil-
lion from the government.
The verdict came after three weeks
of testimony in which a series of vic-
tims and other witnesses graphically
- and often tearfully - recalled the
horror that gripped the Washington
area during the sniper attacks.
Ten people were killed in the region
and three were wounded, many of
them shot as they went about their
daily tasks: shopping at a crafts store,
buying groceries, mowing the lawn,
going to school.
At the height of the killings, the area
was so terrified that sports teams were
forced to practice indoors, people kept
their heads down as they pumped gas,
and teachers drew the blinds on their
At one point during the spree, a
handwritten letter was found tacked to
a tree near the Virginia restaurant
where a man was shot, and it included
the chilling postscript: "Your children
are not safe anywhere at any time." A
NEWS IN BRIEF
BAG HDAD, Iraq :..
Italian criticizes U.S., quits Iraqi coalition
An Italian official in the U.S.-led coalition has resigned, accusing L. Paul Bre-
mer's administration of inefficiency and failing to understand Iraq - sharp criti-
cisms that raise questions about the authority's ability to carry out the delicate
task of transferring power to Iraqis.
The allegations by Marco Calamai, a special counselor of the Coalition Provi-
sional Authority in the southern province of Dhi Qar, came as Russia and France
criticized the U.S. timetable for handing over power to the Iraqis by July 1.
Rising casualties added new urgency to the task. Two more American soldiers
died yesterday in separate attacks north of Baghdad, one in an ambush on a
patrol, the other by a roadside bomb.
U.S. forces attacked dozens of suspected guerrilla hideouts before dawn yester-
day, killing six alleged insurgents and capturing others, U.S. officials said. For the
second time in as many days, American troops fired a satellite-guided missile
with a 500-pound warhead, this one at a suspected insurgent sanctuary 10 miles
south of Saddam Hussein's hometown, Tikrit.
"Clearly, we're sending the message that we do have the ability to run operations
across a wide area," said Lt. Col. William MacDonald of the 4th Infantry Division.
"We have overwhelming combat power that we will utilize in order to go after
groups and individuals who have been conducting anti-coalition activities."
Tax cuts bill meets Democratic opposition
Two-thirds of the $23 billion in tax breaks in the Republican-drafted energy bill
would go to the oil, gas and coal industries. Democrats slammed the legislation,
one describing it as "a hodgepodge of subsidies for the politically well-connected."
Congressional estimates released yesterday put the cost of the package, the first
overhaul of the nation's energy priorities in a decade, at $32 billion over 10 years,
including about $9 billion for nontax-related measures and revenue losses.
A House-Senate conference began considering a string of Democratic amend-
ments, but few if any were expected to survive. GOP conference leaders said they
were determined to complete the legislation so the House could take it up as early
"This is a solid agreement," Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) declared as he
opened the conference where House and Senate conferees were to cast their final
vote on the bill. He said the GOP bill, which includes 1,148 pages, was the prod-
uct of delicate compromises between the House and Senate, and changes could
jeopardize the package.
"I don't think we can take a risk of undoing this," said Domenci.
Sniper John Allen Muhammad looks around the Virginia Beach
Circuit Court after being found guilty yesterday on four charges of
tarot card left near a shooting outside a
school declared: "Call me God."
"Hopefully, the jury's decision will
help bring some comfort to the fami-
lies whose lives were senselessly taken
and those who were injured," White
House spokesman Scott McClellan
said in Washington.
Prosecutors presented no direct evi-
dence that Muhammad fired the .223-
caliber Bushmaster rifle used in the
killings, but said it didn't matter. They
described Muhammad as the "captain
of a killing team" and portrayed him as
Malvo's father figure, a stern and con-
trolling man who trained the teenager
to do his bidding.
"That is a young man he molded
and made an instrument of death and
destruction," Prince William County
Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert
said in closing arguments.
Al- Qaida's role in bombings still unclear
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - Turkish officials
investigated claims that the al-Qaida terrorist net-
work was responsible for the truck bombings that
'devastated two Istanbul synagogues and killed 24
people, the prime minister said early yesterday.
Picking through the debris at one of the damaged
synagogues, searchers yesterday found the remains
of an elderly Jewish worshipper, a doctor at the gov-
ernment health department said.
That raised the total death toll from Saturday's
attacks to 24 from 23. An earlier toll of Jews killed
stood at six, because the Jewish community had
already counted the woman as among the dead. The
woman's granddaughter also was killed, her body
found the day of the attacks.
A Turkish newspaper said the driver of one of the
trucks was filmed by the security camera outside
the Neve Shalom synagogues. But it quoted police
officials as saying the driver's identity was still
unclear. Hurriyet said the son of the truck's owner
has been missing for two weeks.
On Sunday, two Arabic-language newspapers
received separate statements claiming Osama bin
Laden's group was responsible for the bombings,
which Turkish officials said were likely the work of
suicide bombers who detonated explosives in pick-
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turk-
ish authorities were investigating the al-Qaida
claims, and there was no way to independently con-
firm the authenticity of the claims.
"Our security teams, our intelligence services
have to work to determine the extent of truth of the
claims," Erdogan said.
Earlier, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu said
the attacks were likely carried out by someone with
international links, and rejected earlier claims of
responsibility by a tiny Turkish Islamic militant
group, saying it did not have the capacity to launch
the sophisticated attacks.
"It is very likely that there is an international
connection. We are not ruling out any possibility,
including al-Qaida involvement," he said. Aksu
told AP the bombings appeared to be suicide
A Turkish intelligence official told The Associat-
ed Press that security forces had been expecting a
suicide strike but said it was very difficult to pre-
vent such an action. The official, speaking on con-
dition of anonymity yesterday, said one person was
still being questioned in Istanbul over the syna-
gogue blasts but that the person didn't appear to
have ties with al-Qaida.
Turkish newspaper reports yesterday said that
"It is very likely that there is
an international connection.
We are not ruling out any
possibility, including al-Qaida
- Abdulkadir Aksu
four Turks who were questioned and released on
Sunday included some who allegedly provided fake
passports to three al-Qaida suspects captured in
Turkey last year as they illegally entered from Iran.
Istanbul's governor, Muammer Guler, said yester-
day that more people had been detained in the
attacks, according to private Turk NTV, but did not
The Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades claimed Satur-
day's attacks in an e-mail to the London-based
paper al-Quds al-Arabi, saying it had learned that
Israeli intelligence agents were inside the syna-
It's not clear that the group exists, though it has
been linked in the past to al-Qaida. A copy of its
statement was obtained by The Associated Press.
AARP factors into
Medicare drug bill
Republicans consulted the politically
potent AARP at key moments in nego-
tiations over a Medicare prescription
drug bill - and the group responded
yesterday with the endorsement the
GOP and President Bush wanted to
counter Democratic critics.
There are 35 million reasons why the
AARP is a player in the maneuvering
- the number of its members age 50
AARP chief executive William Nov-
elli told The Associated Press in an
,interview that his organization would
"pull out all the stops" to get the bill
passed, including a three-day television
campaign timed for the run-up to
expected action on the legislation in the
House and Senate at the end of the
week. The bill is not perfect, he said,
"but the country can't afford to wait for
an enemy combatant.
In a critical showdown between the
government and civil rights lawyers,
two members of a three-judge federal
panel seemed hesitant to embrace the
government's reasoning for why Jose
Padilla, 33, should be held indefinitely
without access to a lawyer and without
Padilla, a Muslim, is accused of
plotting with al-Qaida to detonate a
"dirty bomb," which uses conventional
explosives to disperse radioactive
Nation's most famous
mouse celebrates 75th
Mickey Mouse arrived on the world's
cultural stage 75 years ago today as a
scrawny but buoyant black-and-white
product of the Jazz Age.
He was a symbol of American pluck
in his screen debut, "Steamboat Willie,"
on Nov. 18, 1928. The film at New
York's Colony Theatre showed an irrev-
erent rodent who takes Captain Pete's
steamboat on a joyride and woos Min-
nie Mouse by making music on the
bodies of various farm animals.
The years have dulled Mickey's per-
sonality, a result of him becoming the
corporate face of a multibillion-dollar
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
Schwarzenegger rses udehears treatment
SCalif. overs of suspects hesitantly
A federal appeals judge said yester-
dnx it xnld bh "a ~ rh n" in th
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -
Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in
yesterday as the 38th governor of Cali-
fornia, completing a meteoric rise from
bodybuilder and action hero to leader
of the nation's most populated state in
a historic recall election.
The 56-year-old Austrian immigrant
took the oath of office on the steps of
the Capitol before an audience of
7,500 dignitaries and supporters.
Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria
Shriver, held the Bible while California
Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald
George administered the oath.
"I am humbled, I am honored and I
am moved beyond words to be your
governor," Schwarzenegger said after
being sworn in.
In a nod to his wife's famous uncle,
Schwarzenegger added: "In the words
of President Kennedy, 'I am an idealist
Although he had no prior experience
as an elected official, the Republican
Schwarzenegger was swept into office
in the Oct. 7 election that ousted
Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, reviled
by the voters for his handling of the
state's ailing economy.
The ceremony, while steeped in tra-
dition, was void of the pageantry often
associated with California inaugura-
Bitterness over the divisive recall
vote and the state's financial troubles
prompted Schwarzenegger to put a
damper on livelier festivities. Former
Miss America Vanessa Williams, who
appeared with Schwarzenegger in the
1996 film "Eraser," sang the national
Nearly 740 journalists were expected
to cover the ceremony. Fifteen digni-
taries from 13 countries were in atten-
dance, including representatives from
Canada, Egypt, Austria and Mexico.
The new governor was surrounded
by his four children, who had remained
out of public view during much of the
Later in the day, Schwarzenegger
was to attend three events: a luncheon
inside the Capitol rotunda for state and
federal officials, a private family gath-
ering across the street and an invita-
tion-only reception sponsored by the
state Chamber of Commerce.
uay it wouia e a sea c ange in t
Constitution to allow the Bush adminis-
tration to designate a U.S. citizen sus-
pected in an alleged dirty bomb plot as
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