John Allen Muhammad, the mastermind behind the Washington sniper spree of 2002, is due to be executed in Virginia at 9pm on Tuesday after the state’s governor refused his clemency request.
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine denied a clemency request from Muhammad’s lawyers, closing off what is likely to be his last avenue of appeal.
“Having carefully reviewed the petition for clemency and judicial opinions regarding this case, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was recommended by the jury and then imposed and affirmed by the courts,” Kaine said in a statement.
The Supreme Court denied Muhammad’s appeal on Monday. He is all but certain to be executed at Greensville Correctional Center at 9 p.m. ET.
Muhammad, 48, has chosen his final meal but has requested that it not be made public, said Larry Traylor, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Muhammad continued to profess his innocence during two lengthy trials — including one featuring testimony from young accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo — and in several years of legal appeals.
He repeated his assertion that he was an innocent victim of racial bias in a letter to the federal court released last week by his attorneys. Muhammad charged that police and prosecutors “lied to the American people” about his case and withheld evidence that could clear him.
Muhammad accomplice Lee Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the killings, faces his hearing on Wednesday, when a judge will have to decide whether to confirm his sentence of life in prison. Malvo had faced a possible death sentence but the jury recommended life in prison.
Muhammad denied any involvement in the killings Tuesday, telling the judge, “Don’t make a fool of the Constitution of the United States of America.”
“Just like I said at the beginning, I had nothing to do with this, and I’ll say again, I had nothing to do with this,” Muhammad said.
Defense lawyer Peter Greenspun said Muhammad is not inherently evil.
“I’ve represented a lot of bad guys,” Greenspun said. “I’ve represented guys that you look them in the eye and see evil. I’ve spent a lot of time with John Allen Muhammad and that’s not him.”