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CNN Larry King Live
John Allen Muhammad to Die by Lethal Injection
Aired November 10, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: You're looking live at the Greensville Correctional Center in Virginia. D.C. sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad is scheduled to be executed within these walls at any minute. We'll talk with witnesses to his death by lethal injection, including people whose loved ones were murdered during that October 2002 shooting spree that took 10 lives and terrorized millions.
Also joining us, two former police chiefs who helped bring John Muhammad and his deadly teenaged accomplice, Lee Malvo, down.
With us tonight, Jeanne Meserve, CNN's homeland security correspondent.
Vernell Crittendon, former spokesman at San Quentin Prison. By the way, during his 29d year tenure at San Quentin, he helped oversee 13 executions.
Also with us is Philadelphia police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. He served as chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department during the D.C. sniper case.
Also with us here in Los Angeles, Charles Moose. He was chief of police for Montgomery County, Maryland from August of 1999 to June of 2003. The author of "Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Killer."
And rounding out the panel, and he'll be with us throughout the show, Steven Moore. His sister, FBI analyst Linda Franklin, was killed in a sniper attack on February 14th, 2002.
Let's start with Jeanne Meserve. She is there at Greensville. Anything to report, Jeanne?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if they're on schedule, this execution is underway and we should hear within minutes the official announcement that John Muhammad is dead.
Shortly before 9:00, officials plan to march him from his cell shackled into the death chamber. He was going to be strapped down to a gurney there. And he was going to be wearing a loose shirt so they could attach an EKG to his chest and they could put I.V.s in his arms.
Then he was going to be allowed to say some last words. Whether he'll do that, we don't know. What he'll say, we don't know. And then, after about 15 or 20 seconds, the warden was going to turn to the director of the prison, who would be on the phone with the governor's office. They would say, is there any reason that we should not go ahead?
Presumably, they would be told there was none. The chemicals would begin. John Muhammad would be free to talk as long as he could, but those chemicals are expected to kick in quickly.
There will be three. The first will render him unconscious. The second will stop his breathing. And the third will stop his heart. The estimate is this will take five to 10 minutes.
Then a spokesman for the Virginia Corrections Department will come out here to the cameras and make the official announcement to all of us that John Muhammad is, indeed, dead -- back to you, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Jeanne.
You're right there on the scene. Vernell Crittendon is a former San Quentin spokesperson. And during your 29 tenure, you oversaw 13 executions.
You brought them their last meals, right?
Did you walk them into the death chamber?
VERNELL CRITTENDON, FORMER SPOKESMAN, SAN QUENTIN STATE PRISON: I actually was there with them in the -- the death watch cell area and stood about, oh, 10 feet away from them as they entered into the execution chamber.
KING: What was that like for you?
CRITTENDON: It's a very sobering moment because you -- you worked with the family -- surviving family members of the victims, as well as I had to work with the selected witnesses by the person to be executed, as well as the staff.
KING: You also get to know the prisoner very well, don't you?
CRITTENDON: Well, I actually made an effort to meet every death row inmate that arrived at San Quentin. And we had nearly 650 on our death row. So that was a regular...
KING: Commissioner Ramsey, you were chief of D.C. Metropolitan Police Department during all of this.
What are your feelings tonight?
CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER D.C. POLICE CHIEF, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, I mean, I'm glad it's coming to some kind of a conclusion tonight. I certainly think the death penalty is warranted. You know, it's hard to believe that seven years have passed since this took place. And it's also good to see Charles Moose again. I haven't seen him in quite some time. But he did an excellent job heading up the task force in this particular case.
So I just hope it brings some measure of closure to families, although I don't think you can ever have closure for something like this.
KING: Yes, we'll talk with Steven about that in a minute.
Charles Moose was chief of police for Montgomery County, Maryland. He headed up the task force, wrote that book we told you about.
It's nice to have you with Bart -- with Ramsey again.
CHARLES MOOSE, FORMER MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND POLICE CHIEF: Yes.
KING: The two of you got to be known by all of the nation.
How are you feeling now?
MOOSE: Well, I'm -- I'm feeling like it's -- it's a good piece. We're at a good place. The system seems to be working. Things are moving forward.
And so I just sincerely hope that it helps the families of the victims, this whole process. And I think for law enforcement, many of us have -- have felt that the job has been validated, but that the real hope is that the families feel something that helps them through this process.
KING: Much has been made -- and the lawyers argued up to the last minute about his sanity.
Do you question that, whether this man might be insane and maybe shouldn't, therefore, be executed?
MOOSE: I really don't question that. I think the professionals that have worked with him and interviewed him have made their decisions with regards to that -- that sanity. The cruel and inhuman acts that he committed clearly took a lot of planning and a lot of forethought and I think that there was a real clear desire to be paid.
So this was a crime. This was a criminal act that was committed again and again and again and again. This wasn't a one time situation. This is something that -- that happened many -- over a long period of time.
KING: Steven, your sister was an FBI analyst, Linda Franklin, killed. She died outside a Home Depot in Fairfax County, Virginia.
What are you feeling now?
STEVEN MOORE, BROTHER OF SNIPER VICTIM: Well, myself, I wish Malvo was right there beside Muhammad. I...
KING: You want them both to go?
MOORE: Yes. They both committed the same crimes. I don't -- I don't think I'll ever understand fully why the jury gave Malvo -- Malvo the life sentence. I think he should have gotten the death sentence, as well. But I wasn't on the jury and I don't know about all of it, so.
KING: There's -- we just saw your sister.
Tell us about her.
MOORE: Linda was great. I was probably the pain in the neck little brother that no sister wants to get stuck with. If anything, I feel now more guilt about having been such a pain in the neck brother that I don't have the time that a lot of other, you know, young adults have to, you know -- or, I'm not so young now. But a lot of adults don't have that time to make up with their sisters and spend that time with their family. That's where I guess most of my feeling is Malvo took that away from me.
KING: When someone dies like that, purely random, right, incidental -- it could have been have been someone next to her, it could have been -- he could have missed, what does that do to you?
I mean an automobile accident is one thing. A robbery is one thing, but dying like that.
MOORE: I don't understand the thought process behind somebody that thinks like that, that he randomly picked people laying in the trunk of a car and decided that's the person I'm going to kill today. And it's unfortunate it happened to my family and my sister. It's unfortunate it happened to any of these families.
We're covering the execution of the D.C. sniper.
This is LARRY KING LIVE and we'll be right back.
KING: Since he's witnessed 13 of these, I'll ask Vernell Crittendon to tell me in a moment what exactly is going on now.
But Jeanne, usually at executions, there are protesters.
Are there any there tonight?
MESERVE: There certainly are none here on the prison's -- prison grounds. There was an area set aside for them down outside the prison gates. At last check, there were not any -- in significant numbers, at least. But there are many people here. There's a huge horde of press gathered for this. You'll remember that this was just a riveting news story that drew press from all around the world. Many of them have returned to Virginia tonight to be here for this execution -- for this closing chapter on this man's life.
KING: Vernell, would you tell us now what -- the process takes how long?
CRITTENDON: Well, what we experienced in California, that it would go for about 12 to 15 minutes from the moment that the execution commander gives the instruction to begin introducing the lethal cocktail. And that was, in large part, because the lethal cocktail was very thick and heavy in its concentration. And as it moves along the I.V. tube to be delivered to the -- to the individual, it does take an amount of time.
KING: Is -- do they go to sleep quickly?
CRITTENDON: Actually, in our process, the -- the dosage that we would give them of each of the three lethal doses, either one of them is lethal enough to cause death. And they do go to an unconscious state probably within 60 -- within 60 seconds.
KING: Sometimes there have been accidents where they -- where it turned into a horror show.
CRITTENDON: Well, I'm -- I have been fortunate that in the 13 we've been involved in, that hasn't occurred. I think the closest we got to that was the execution of Stanley Williams, where it took us a number of minutes in order to establish the I.V. in one of his two arms.
KING: Commissioner Ramsey, have you ever attended an execution?
RAMSEY: No, I haven't. You know, I would have definitely gone to this one, though, had I had the opportunity. I mean, again, you know, there -- there is absolutely no excuse for what this guy did. And people can claim mental illness or whatever.
I agree with Charles Moose. This is something that took place over a long period of time and was very cold, very calculated. You know, if anybody deserves the death penalty, he certainly does. And, you know, it should be over fairly soon and he'll be shaking hands with Satan pretty soon.
KING: So if you were in -- in Virginia tonight, you would have happily attended this?
RAMSEY: I'd push the button if I had the chance.
KING: Charles Moose, what kind of a -- a manhunt was it, in the sense of how difficult was the capture of this guy?
MOOSE: In terms of the manhunt, it was very difficult because of limited amount of evidence. And I think that when you have a situation where they were killing people from such a distance, there was really not the kind of evidentiary collection that we're normally used to. And then you combine that with the -- in terms of no one actually saw them pull the trigger. And so, so many times you have eyewitness. So it was a matter of putting together a gigantic puzzle with very, very small and disoriented pieces.
KING: You got...
MOOSE: In that sense, it was very complex.
KING: You got one break, though, right? Did someone spot someone?
What broke the case?
MOOSE: Well, I think the -- the break came from, one, the very methodical effort by all of the investigators; and then certainly the notes and the demands by the perpetrators themselves. We were able to piece together a number of different things.
KING: What were they asking for?
MOOSE: $10 million. $10 million to stop the killing.
KING: Had any one proposed putting the money up?
MOOSE: Well, certainly, when you're in a task force like that, you -- you look at every possible option. So we did look at it, but certainly, it didn't go very far.
KING: All right. We're going to interrupt and go to Jeanne Meserve at the prison -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: Yes. And I want to turn it over quickly to the microphones.
Larry Traylor of the Virginia Department of Corrections has just come out.
LARRY TRAYLOR, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: ...John Allen Muhammad has been carried out under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Death was pronounced at 9:11 p.m.. There were no complications. Mr. Muhammad was asked if he wished to make a last statement. He did not acknowledge this or make any statement whatsoever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No statement.
QUESTION: What was his demeanor?
TRAYLOR: He came in under his own power, escorted by the officers. He seemed quiet and relaxed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was quiet and relaxed.
TRAYLOR: I never heard him utter a word or say anything in particular at all. After he was placed on the gurney and strapped down, he was very emotionless. He watched a bit of the procedure that was being done on him. But after that was completed and the curtains were opened back up, he had his head tilt -- tilted slightly to the right and his eyes were closed and that's the way he remained.
QUESTION: How many people witnessed it?
TRAYLOR: I don't -- I don't have a total number.
QUESTION: Anything unusual? TRAYLOR: Things went very -- very normally.
QUESTION: Was there any reaction in his body or anything that you noticed (INAUDIBLE)?
TRAYLOR: He seemed very unemotional.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) reaction from family members (INAUDIBLE)?
TRAYLOR: I do not see the family members. They are by themselves in a -- in a totally separate room.
QUESTION: How long did the procedure take?
TRAYLOR: I would say the chemicals started, according to the clock on the wall in the chamber, at 9:06 p.m..
QUESTION: And what -- at what point was he pronounced as euthanized?
TRAYLOR: 9:11 was the pronouncement. And that is done by a physician behind the curtain with the Department of Corrections.
QUESTION: Can you describe his demeanor and, again, what he might have said or (INAUDIBLE) you said he didn't say anything (INAUDIBLE)?
TRAYLOR: He did not say anything. I did not hear him utter a word the entire time that -- when he -- as -- when he entered the chamber.
TRAYLOR: We were on the line. We had an open line to the state capital, yes. And before the drugs were administered, the director of the department did ask that office if there was any reason not to proceed. And they said to proceed. And then we informed the warden to go ahead and start and we did, about 9:06.
TRAYLOR: I'm sorry, what was that?
QUESTION: You said he closed his eyes.
At what point did he do that?
TRAYLOR: Once he was strapped down, he was watching and looking around a little bit. Then the curtains were closed so that the team could come in and administer the I.V.s.
During that time, he was just simply kind of watching, curiously seeing what was going on. Once the I.V.s were administered and the curtain was opened back up, he had his -- he was just lying down. His head was down. He had his head tilted slightly to the right and his eyes closed. I don't know specifically when he started doing that. But at that point, we were prepared to start. We asked him for a last statement. He did not even look at us or acknowledge us.
QUESTION: Did he ever smile (INAUDIBLE)?
TRAYLOR: I did not see his face the entire time, but I did not see any type of real emotion from him at all.
QUESTION: Was there any special guidance?
TRAYLOR: No, he did not have a spiritual adviser.
QUESTION: Did the drugs cause any reaction at all once they began to be administered?
TRAYLOR: None that I could see.
QUESTION: Larry, was he sedated before he entered the room?
TRAYLOR: I can't discuss any medical information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
JONATHAN SHELDON, JOHN ALLEN MUHAMMAD'S ATTORNEY: The lawyers, the children and the family of John Muhammad would like to make the following statements.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Louder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is it?
SHELDON: The ex -- the lawyers and the family of John Muhammad would like to make the following statement.
The execution of John Muhammad will raise a lot of different feelings for the families devastated by the tragic shootings of September and October 2002 and for the broader community affected by those crimes. We deep -- we deeply sympathize with the families and loved ones who have to relive the pain and loss of those terrible days.
Our sympathies also extend to the children of John Muhammad, who, with humility and self-consciousness, today lost a father and a member of their family.
To all those families and the countless citizens across the country who bore witness, and continue to do so, to those tragic events, we renew our condolences and we offer our prayers for a better future. (CROSSTALK)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spell your name.
SHELDON: It's John Sheldon.
KING: Steven Moore, your sister was killed by the man that the State of Virginia just killed.
What are you feeling?
MOORE: It's -- it's another life gone. This one was deservedly so. And talking about their family feels bad for the families that are left. They're talking about Muhammad's children, but Linda left children behind, too. She's got a daughter, Katie, and a son, Thomas, that -- Tommy just got back from his second tour in Iraq in the Army.
They're not going to see their mom. They're not going to go through all of the fun and, you know, all the pleasures of growing up, having the grandchildren that she gets to play with. She's missed out on all of that.
So I don't have any sympathy for his family or for his children, I'm sorry.
KING: A cliched word that gets used a lot, do you feel closure?
MOORE: No. I don't feel any closure. I mean, it's -- it -- nothing changes.
KING: No sense of satisfaction or relief or?
MOORE: Well, no. I think the justice system has executed another prisoner that needed to be executed. Now, why it takes seven years to get something like that done, I'm sure there's appeals and all of that, but I think that we spend too much time taking care of these guys on death row. That sounds cold-hearted from me, but maybe some of these other families, if they lost somebody, they'd probably feel some -- some of the same feelings.
I -- I brought up a lot of strong emotions over all of this and as far as the time on death row, gun control. I've gotten into plenty of disputes with people over, you know, wanting to keep assault rifles so they can go deer hunting. I don't see much use in that.
KING: You are in favor of gun control, now, right?
MOORE: I am now.
KING: Yes, I would bet. Vernell, the question he was asked, was -- was there any -- did they do anything medically to him to sedate him before he entered the room?
Was that done at San Quentin ever? CRITTENDON: You know, actually, in the 13 executions we've had, we do offer a Valium to the person to be executed. But all 13 inmates declined that offer.
CRITTENDON: And they all walked in, as was indicated in this execution of John Allen Muhammad. They walked in under their own volition, sat in and put themselves in a position so that we could strap them in the chair. And a number of them responded in the same fashion when the curtains were open. They actually would just close their eyes and just lay there and be motionless.
KING: Did many make statements?
CRITTENDON: Yes, we've had a number of them. Of the 13, I believe it was eight of them that actually did make a -- a final statement.
KING: But all refused Valium?
KING: Jeanne Meserve, can you describe the situation at the Correctional Institution now?
MESERVE: Well, we're all waiting with anticipation. As you heard, we just had the Department of Corrections come out and announce the death and then John Muhammad's attorneys come out and make a statement. We're waiting for the media representatives now to come out and give us their descriptions of what happened.
We're watching some van movement in the back, too. We believe those are the victim family members who were in witnessing this execution.
I spoke to one of them this afternoon, Bob Myers. It was the death of his brother, Dean Myers, and the conviction in that case which led to the death penalty and this execution here tonight.
Bob Meyers said this wasn't about vengeance, this was about coming, hoping to hear some words of remorse from John Muhammad. He obviously was disappointed. Muhammad had nothing to say on his deathbed.
However, he also said he came because the families wanted to support one another. They all met one another during the trials of John Muhammad and Lee Malvo...
KING: Here comes some...
MESERVE: -- and they wanted to talk. And now, we believe this is the media rep for...
KING: Jeanne, some people now are coming forward.
JON BURKETT, WTVR-TV REPORTER, WITNESSED JOHN ALLEN MUHAMMAD'S EXECUTION: Burkett from WTVR, CBS 6 in Richmond, Virginia.
Here's how the time lines went according to me. I sat on the second row next to John Muhammad's attorney. We walked in. Warden George Hinkle at first had his back to us. Larry Traylor was on the phone with the governor's office.
But we understand the victims' family sat to the right of us behind us behind mirrored glass. Muhammad could not see them, but they could see Muhammad.
Eleven state officials, at that time, were inside the death chamber.
When we first arrived in there, you could see two I.V. lines in the back dangling from a blue curtain. At 8:58, John Muhammad was walked into the death chamber. He kind of staggered in. He was in a blue shirt, blue denim jeans. He's kind of being held up by corrections officers.
He looked around, mostly to the floor. He was very clean-cut. They strapped him in his by his legs first; then his waist, then his arms.
The warden, at that time, stood over Muhammad's right shoulder. His feet were facing us. His head was away from us.
By 9:00 p.m., six corrections officers had strapped him down and you could see Muhammad kind of clench his fist a few times. He wiggled his right foot a couple times from what I noticed.
Then the blue curtain was shut. Now, Department of Corrections officials tell us the blue curtain shut so that most of the people in the back administering the execution could be -- they could protect their identity.
At 9:06, they pulled the curtain back. You could see Muhammad strapped there. They asked him right after that, Mr. Muhammad, do you have any last words?
He didn't say anything.
At 9:07, you could see him twitching a lot. You could see his -- and blinking a lot. And you could see his breathing increase.
At 9:08, he sat there -- he was there motionless.
At 9:11 p.m., Muhammad was pronounced dead.
Have you guys got anything different?
QUESTION: Could you go over what you said again about the -- the -- the -- after the -- the process began, the point where the injections began?
BURKETT: The point of the injection began...
BURKETT: At 9:06, they pulled the curtain back away. They pulled the curtain back so we could see him again. He sat there or he laid there. He was silent.
At 9:07, you could see him to start to twitch, with -- which they told us that that means they started administering the drug in the I.V. You could see the -- Republican I.V. just bump a little bit.
And at 9:07, could you see him blinking a lot. His breathing got faster. I think you counted seven...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About seven, yes.
BURKETT: About seven deep breaths.
And then at 9:08, he was motionless.
QUESTION: Did he acknowledge anybody?
I mean could he -- could he...
BURKETT: He came in, he looked. It looked like when he looked down on the floor...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)?
BURKETT: No. He didn't -- he didn't appear to be. He staggered in, but they kind of -- you know, they -- they held him up and lowered him on the gurney. And by 9:00, he was strapped down firmly to the gurney.
QUESTION: So at 9:09?
BURKETT: No, 9:11 is when he was pronounced dead.
QUESTION: Did he look nervous?
BURKETT: He looked calm. He was clean-shaven. He was calm. They laid him down. He didn't resist.
QUESTION: Was he in like a prison uniform (INAUDIBLE)?
BURKETT: He was in a denim shirt and denim jeans and flip-flops.
QUESTION: Maybe you don't want to answer this, but let me just ask, did you have any feelings or emotions yourself as you watched this? BURKETT: No. Just doing my job, coming out and report to you guys.
QUESTION: Does anybody else have something that they want to say?
QUESTION: Who was with you on the...
BURKETT: There was -- oh, there was 27 -- normal executions, we're told, there are 12 people to witness it. This one had 27 folks inside. At -- I think it was about 8:56 is when his lawyers -- two of his lawyers walked in and sat beside us. The state officials, which comprised of police officers, detectives, they sat front row. The media sat second row.
QUESTION: What was their reaction?
BURKETT: The only reaction you really could tell was when they pronounced him dead at 9:11. And everybody was like, oh, the irony in that. He was pronounced dead at 9:11 -- you know, talking amongst themselves.
QUESTION: Did you see the family at all?
BURKETT: No. You could not see the family. They were hidden away behind a mirrored glass. They could see Muhammad, but Muhammad couldn't see them.
QUESTION: Once the justice began, did Muhammad appear to be in any distress?
QUESTION: So the 27th, who was that?
That was the family that was (INAUDIBLE)?
BURKETT: No. The 27 was just the folks in our room. There were two separate rooms. The victims' families were over in one room. The media, state officials and other representatives from the state were in our room.
QUESTION: ...a member of the -- of the task force?
BURKETT: I'm -- I don't know.
Larry, do you know that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to identify them. You can -- you can if you want, but I'm not...
BURKETT: No. I don't know if they were members of the task force or not. I know there were some law enforcement in the room with us. QUESTION: Do you have any idea how many family members there were on the other side?
QUESTION: You did not see them?
BURKETT: We did not see them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did not see them. They didn't enter with us and we -- the glass -- their glass door was -- was (INAUDIBLE).
SARAH ABRUZZESE, WITNESSED JOHN ALLEN MUHAMMAD'S EXECUTION: I'm Sarah Abruzzese, A-B-R-U-Z-Z-E-S-E. And that's Sarah with an H.
When we walked in, as I believe they told you before, Mr. Muhammad could see us if -- but -- and we could see him. However, the witness room, while there was a panel of glass, we couldn't see in. It was darkened.
QUESTION: What was it like for you watching (INAUDIBLE)?
QUESTION: What was it like watching this?
ABRUZZESE: I have actually never seen an execution before. You know as -- as they said, it was very -- he walked in. He staggered a little bit. It was very calm. There was no speaking. It just kind of moved along.
QUESTION: ...had nothing to say?
ABRUZZESE: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: Were you surprised he had nothing to say?
ABRUZZESE: I -- I mean I -- I just reported what he did have to say. We couldn't hear. If he had had something to say, we would have -- we wouldn't probably have heard it, because they often speak very quietly. However, we were able to hear the question, do you have any last words?
QUESTION: What do you -- why do you think, did he notice that is was going on or was he gone already?
DENA POTTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Yes. I'm Dena Potter with the Associated Press. It's D-E-N-A Potter. He knew -- when he came in the door, he looked down. He looked over to the gurney. He looked around. He was lucid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said he was unresponsive when they asked him a question.
POTTER: He was stoic. He stared straight to the ceiling. Didn't blink eyes or anything. Just refused to talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Potter, were you affected in any way witnessing this?
POTTER: I'm just doing my job. We are just there to record time of day, last words, that sort of thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do our jobs just like you do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know if the prosecutor any of the members of the investigating team were there?
POTTER: I know Prince William County Prosecutor Paul Ebert was there.
No. They -- the room was very quiet throughout. There were whispers, people talking back and forth. But no one commented afterward.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As many of you know, the state witnesses, it was five men and one woman. The woman said at the end, interesting. That was the only real verbalization there was once he was pronounced dead can he at 9:11.
He was pronounced dead at 9:11. Interesting.
POTTER: Anything else?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anybody else have any questions?
POTTER: That's what all the condemned inmates, when they bring them in, that's what they wear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is dark denim pants.
KING: By the way, Mr. Burkett said that the family members were witnessing, but he couldn't see them. We had Carol Williams on last night, his first wife, and his son as well, and also his wife's fiancee. They said they were definitely not going to witness the execution, and that they would also be taking the body back to Louisiana, and they have already made burial plans.
So we have a conflict. I don't know if they did watch it. But John Burkett said they were hidden. He couldn't see them. They told us last night they were not going to watch it.
The D.C. Sniper has been executed. Pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m. Eastern time. Some family members of those shot will be with us. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, we heard this loud bang.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One person dead. No suspects, no motive. A shooting near Whiteflint. Shot and killed. Again, no suspects. Another shoot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the heck is going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another shooting. Hispanic female shot and killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The victims don't seem to be connected. But the shootings do.
Random acts of deadly violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your children are not safe anywhere at new time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the teachers told us to run.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At any time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The killer left a calling card.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're stepping over the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A federal arrest warrant has been issued for John Allen Muhammad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Young guy. You are watching LARRY KING LIVE. With us now is Peter Greenspun. He was John Muhammad's trial attorney and co- appellate counsel. I understand you did not attend the execution. Why?
PETER GREENSPUN, ATTORNEY FOR JOHN ALLEN MUHAMMAD: There were only two attorneys allowed in. They were the appellate attorneys, Larry.
KING: When was the last time you saw your client?
GREENSPUN: I saw John about two weeks ago, and I saw him for an hour this afternoon, before he was prepared to go into the death chamber.
KING: They are all describing how calm he was. What was he like this afternoon?
GREENSPUN: Well, John -- you know, John is a very, very challenged and mentally-ill gentleman. He was just the way he was throughout the trial process, after the trial, two weeks ago, and today. He still demonstrated --
KING: Hold on one second. I'm going to come right back to you. We have another press statement. We will come right back to you, Peter. Don't go away. Let's go to the press statement.
PAUL EBERT, PROSECUTOR: -- execution tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, you said you witnessed the execution tonight?
EBERT: We did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you --
EBERT: He died very peacefully, much more than most of his victims. I felt it was a sense of closure. And I hope they did, too. I think they look forward to that and I hope they have some solace, by virtue of his execution.
One thing I know they all know, that they don't have to worry about him in the future. He had so much more chance than any of their loved ones had. Our system of justice gave him every opportunity. And he afforded himself of that opportunity. He said nothing tonight. And he died very peacefully.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are known for putting more people on death row than any other prosecutor in Virginia. This is the first time you witnessed an execution. What was it like for you personally?
EBERT: Well, somewhat anti-climactic. Very quiet and peaceful. I did feel a sense of relief and closure, knowing that the legal battle is over and we can go about our businesses without him to worry about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name? I'm sorry.
EBERT: My name is Paul Ebert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ebert, did you talk to the victims' families?
EBERT: I have not talked to any of them tonight. I talked to them in the past.
KING: Let's go back to Peter Greenspun, John Muhammad's trial attorney, describing how John was this afternoon. Peter, you did not believe in his innocence. You just believed that there was a mental problem. Is that correct?
GREENSPUN: Well, there are a lot of legal issues in the case. But from the beginning, from the very first time I met with John after he was brought to Virginia, it was clear that there were mental health issues. He had undertaken a horrible upbringing. He was strapped to lawn mower batteries. He was beaten and abused. It was a very difficult time.
But something happened to John. He had fought through all of that. But when he got out of the service, after going to the Gulf War I, when he returned, by all reports, he was a different person. When he lost his children, something broke. And it is just tragedy upon tragedy.
Let me say this, if I can. We are very respectful and give every condolence to all of the victims, those who were killed, their families, the injured, and the whole Washington, Maryland and Virginia areas. This was terrible. We all lived through it. But today at 9:11, a very ill man was executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
KING: Did he expect a reprieve?
GREENSPUN: I'm sorry. Could you say that again?
KING: Did he expect some sort of reprieve from the governor or the courts?
GREENSPUN: He was certainly helpful. We were all hopeful. There were real issues as to whether or not all of the evidence was turned over, the so-called Brady and exculpatory evidence. In Virginia, we received 2,800 pages of discovery. In Maryland, they received 30,000 pages of discovery, including all kinds of records and reports and witness statements which were inconsistent with the evidence that was received at our trial.
In our case, the jury believed that if they did not agree on death, that the whole trial would have to be done again. There were five life leaning jurors in our case, but they believed that the whole trial would have to be done again and ultimately voted for death. When you have all of those issues, certainly we, as defense attorneys, and I believe John Muhammad was hopeful that he would be able to receive, if not clemency, a stay, so that this missing witness issue and missing evidence issue could all be explored further.
KING: Did you expect the governor to take an action he did not take?
GREENSPUN: Well, the governor is under a great deal of pressure. Governor Kaine, as you know, is personally opposed to the death penalty. As the head of this state, he's tasked with enforcing the law. We felt that there was overwhelming pressure on the governor and although the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled or indicated that Virginia did everything that they could to truncate the appellate process, to limit the habeas corpus process, we did not have great hopes the governor would step in.
KING: Peter, finally, how do you feel now?
GREENSPUN: Frankly, Larry, I feel awful. This is a man we had gotten to know. We had spent hundreds and hundreds of hours with John Allen Muhammad. He was a person of humor and in many ways of grace, all counter-indicated of what he was convicted of doing. So he was both a dynamic and enigma type of personality to us. But he is someone that we got to know. We got to know his family. He was a person who was meaningful to them.
And I was here all day today waiting for an announcement that the state had put this man to death. Frankly, there are those who I think will celebrate that. There are certainly those that should give that whole processing a second thought. Tens of millions of dollars was expended in this prosecution, as opposed to putting this man in a concrete box for the rest of his life. It is an issue that needs to be studied over and over again for a long, long time.
KING: Thank you, Peter. Greeter Greenspun, John Muhammad's trial attorney and co-appellate council. Mob Meyers' brother Dean was killed by the sniper. Bob will be with us after the break.
KING: With us now is Bob Meyers. Bob's brother Dean was killed in a D.C. Sniper attack. By the way, John Allen Muhammad's execution tonight was specifically for Dean's murder. The Attorney General John Ashcroft wanted it that way, because Bob's brother was murdered in Virginia and Virginia had a higher rate of executions than Maryland, where other murders took place.
Did you attend, Bob? Did you watch this?
BOB MEYERS, BROTHER OF SNIPER VICTIM: Yes, sir, I did.
KING: How did you feel?
MEYERS: Honestly, it was surreal. Watching the life be sapped out of someone intentionally was very different and an experience I had never had. I watched my mother die of natural causes. But that was very different.
KING: Was there a feeling of relief or closure for you?
MEYERS: Probably a point of closure. But I would say that pretty much was overcome just by the sadness that the whole situation generates in my heart. You know, that he would get to the place where he did what he did. And that it had to come to this.
KING: Your brother was the youngest of four brothers. He was a Vietnam veteran. He died on October 9th at a gas station. He was only 53 years old. How do you remember him? what are your memories of Dean?
MEYERS: Dean was an extremely sensitive boy and man. As he grew, he retained that sensitivity. And the sensitivity didn't leave him even though he had a big job to do in Vietnam, a very dangerous mission. He saw a lot of horrific things that he really didn't want to talk about. But shared his candy with the Vietnamese children in the village.
At the same time, he just exuded generosity and caring. He spent time with people. He was -- he was the kind of guy that you would want for a brother and a son and a friend.
KING: You are a man of faith. Have you forgiven John Muhammad?
MEYERS: Yes, sir, I have. And the reason for that is kind of two-fold, but they are related. One is that God calls for me do that in the Bible. The second thing is related to that, in that if I don't, it rots me from the inside out. It really doesn't hurt John Muhammad or anybody that I have bitterness against.
MEYERS: Thank you, Bob. Bob Meyers, his brother Dean killed, and the reason that Muhammad was specifically executed tonight was for that murder. Muhammad's fellow murderer, Lee Malvo, is serving life in prison. We will get our thoughts from our guests about that when we come back.
KING: With us now is Carmeta Lindo. She's a social worker and counselor. She's worked extensively with Lee Malvo, John Mohammed's accomplice in the D.C. Sniper attacks. Do we hear correctly that Lee Malvo is a changed man?
CARMETA LINDO, SOCIAL WORKER: Yes. You are hearing correctly. He is a changed man.
KING: In what way?
LINDO: Well, at the time that Lee was with John Mohammed, he was fashioned into this robot, like a killing machine. And when he was -- when he was drawn to Muhammad in Antigua, he was drawn to him because he wanted a father. And when Muhammad lost his children and engaged Lee to assist him to get to his children, that was when he was taken on this murderous trail.
And Lee was spared the death penalty and he was given life. And over the course of the past seven years, Lee has come to the realization of what he did and feels remorse for what he did. We have communicated over the years, my visiting him, and also through letters and poems that he has written. And he really has found some measure of peace.
I was with him this past weekend. I wanted to find out from him how he was dealing with the upcoming execution of this man who for about two years he referred to as dad. And he said to me that fate has taken its course. He said as well that he felt pity for John Muhammad. Pitty because John had not reached a place where he could admit to the wrongs that he had done, where he could not express remorse and find some peace.
LINDO: And that was --
LINDO: -- what he shared. KING: Thank you, Carmeta. We'll be back with more of LARRY KING LIVE. Our panel right after this.
KING: I want to get a round of last minute comments from our panel. First a word from Isa Farrington-Nichols. Her niece was killed in Takoma, Washington, but tied to these murders. By the way, Lee Malvo has confessed to your niece's killing, but was not charged for it. He's serving life. But you attended tonight's execution. Why, Isa?
ISA FARRINGTON-NICHOLS, AUNT OF SNIPER VICTIM: My name is Isa. I attended the execution to accompany my daughter and I. She felt that when I told her about the invitation from the Virginia Commonwealth, she wanted closure and she wanted to be here. So we came.
It was my daughter and I who found my Kenya (ph) lying on the floor. My daughter was 14 at the time. She's 21 now. And so we came. I came because I'm interested in seeing the victims -- family members of the victims again that I had met back during the trial. And I am also interested in what happens next now that John has died.
What's the lessons? What is a critical conversation that's we need to have regarding the origins of this. There are a lot of things in terms of domestic abuse, domestic violence that I feel needs to be brought forth, needs to be transparent. And I want to see that we take this and be able to do some things with this purpose.
KING: Well said, Isa. I'm sorry for mispronouncing your name.
Let's get a roundup of final comments. Stephen Moore, you said you never want to mention him again, right?
MOORE: Yes. The closure for me is going to be that Muhammad is out of this now. We're through with him. I don't want to give him another moment's thought.
The memory of my sister is something that I cherish. I wish I had more time to spend with her. Since I don't have that, then the last thing I can do is erase Muhammad.
KING: Well said.
MOORE: I don't want to discuss him anymore.
KING: You were telling us about the anti-climactic nature of this.
CRITTENDON: Working with the surviving family members through 13 executions, I found that one of the revelations was that executions are actually anti-climatic. It's nothing what you would expect it to be. It's a process that the only real reward is that you know justice was served and that your loved one's life did have a meaning to all of us in society. KING: Commissioner Ramsey, I understand you disagreed with the statements of the attorney. Would you briefly tell us why.
RAMSEY: Totally. I find it hard to believe that he even tried to describe this guy as a man of humor and grace. I mean it's just ridiculous. He's a cold blooded killer, period. And this whole issue of mental illness, I don't buy it for one second. He knew exactly what he was doing. He got what he deserved. If he was mentally ill, then he just got a therapy session about 55 minutes ago. It was the appropriate session.
As far as Malvo is concerned, he should never, ever see the light of day. Life should mean life. The only way out is feet first.
KING: Charles Moose, you only have 20 seconds.
MOOSE: Larry, looking forward, let's hope that this serves as a deterrent. Let's hope that people out there see this, understand this. You do this kind of thing to other people and you pay for it. You're going to die also.
KING: We thank our panel. We thank our guests. And Lee -- John Muhammad is history. Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" next. Anderson?