John Muhammad's friend speaks out on Reddit:
When I was 12, my sister turned 16. My parents bought her a total Piece of Shit Volvo for $200. The thing hardly ran, but it was built like a tank. My dad had been using a mechanic he knew who worked on Mitsubishi's to maintain our van which had a knack for breaking down at the worst times. He came cheap, did good work, and was definitely in need of the money.
John Allen Williams ran a shop out of his house, his wife managed the office managerial duties, and John would drive out to locations to fix things.
This was perfect for us, because my family was just barely making it, and so we all were working jobs all day and couldn't afford to take time off from work to bring our cars in during normal office hours. We also couldn't afford rental replacements while our cars were in the shop. John would come to our house between 6 and 9 and take care of whatever automotive issues we had.
Several times, the Mitsubishi or my sister's crappy Volvo broke down on the side of the road and John drove out to her and fixed her car and made sure she got home safely. We made sure to thank him for it.
Frequently, when he came out to our house, it was in the middle of his dinner time. As thanks, we invited him inside for a meal with the family. He shared political and religious views with us, as we were all very intellectually active conversationalists and frequently had small debates at the dinner table (both my parents are teachers).
He would give me sagely advice on how to deal with problems in school or in general life.
When I turned 16, I bought a car ('89 Taurus) with my paper route money. It was in much better condition than my sister's Volvo had been, but it still needed some work. We hired John out to the dealership to look the car over before we purchased it, to be sure there was nothing wrong. I remember even now, working with John as he showed me how to replace the Distributor Cap, 2 spark plugs, Air Filter and Fuel Filter. While we were out there, he even told me about some time he spent in the Army.
Shortly after this was the last time I'd see John. He came out to change the oil in my car and my mom's van. This time he brought a younger boy with him. John didn't talk much while he was here, and the boy didn't say anything. All we knew was the boy's name was Lee.
They changed the oil and left.
The next time we called (a couple months later), no one answered the phone. John's wife wasn't answering, John wasn't answering. We assumed something had happened and he had closed the business.
The next time I heard about John was my freshman year of college. The nation's capital was in panic as random sniper killings were occurring all around the area.
My dad called me and told me to turn on the news, and there, staring me back in the face, was our car mechanic, John Allen Williams. But now his name was John Muhammad, and under his name it said he had been arrested as the DC Sniper.
I thought for sure it was a mistake.
My dad spoke with the FBI, but they refused to take any statements. When my dad spoke with a friend of John's, he said that John's wife had taken his children away from him, and after that he snapped and then disappeared.
We've watched the trial for several years now. And tonight, John Muhammad is to be executed. Strangely, a federal crime tried in a state court. I'm past the argument, as I'm sure most people don't care or want to care, and I'm sure there's some legal reason how the Federal Government can release it's responsibility to prosecute federal crimes to a state with a death penalty.
All that I care about is that people know that John Muhammad wasn't always an evil man. That I remember not even a decade ago, a John Allen Williams that was a very kind, caring and loving man and father, and an excellent mentor and friend.
Rest in peace, John.