Its been 10 years since we heard from this infamous killer, Lee Boyd Malvo aka DC Sniper. The interview is a good one but as the audio is poor the transcript is posted.

He is much older now and so he has had some time to think and reflect. I listened to him with an open mind trying to understand why he grew into the monster he became. The answers are what I have heard before – the lack of care, want, need and above all parental love.

When someone takes another’s life it means one thing to me- you have no regard for your own so my question is why lock you up for life? Why preserve your life? The taking of a another man’s life is not ours to command. But this is one of human complexities that I will never understand…We are so inconsistent in our feelings, our emotions, our humanities. We are nothing but an over educated child with a crayon.


Last time we saw you on television you were doing an NBC interview. You said it would be your last. Can to tell us why you agreed to do this interview?

I agreed to do this interview because it allows me to speak to my people – an actual Jamaican audience — something that hasn’t necessarily been the case. And I believe there’s a lot of questions that I can answer and address and also bring to light certain issues that actually are prevalent among the Jamaican community because a lot of parents migrate and leave their children and a lot of the stuff I went through.

This is an open discussion.

What lessons do you want to impart about what happened to you because from what I understand your mom and you left to go to Antigua and after being in Antigua you met John Muhammad and then your mom left and went to the United States. You followed afterwards. Talk to me about what it is that you want to impart on the Jamaican people since you brought it up…

The most important thing you can give to your children is your time. Not things not possessions– your time. And that’s the one thing I did not receive. Before I left Jamaica my mother asked my father (incoherent) – he had a house he had everything but he decided not to and before I (incoherent) and he made the decision not to give me his time

Now for a period of time up until I was nine years old he did offer money, clothing, but that’s not what I needed I needed his time. And it would have taken certain sacrifices to make that happen but if he allowed me to stay in his home in Jamaica even while he was in the Cayman Islands working at least he would know where I was at and that I’d be safe.

As for my mother, when I went to Antigua, she, after being there for three months on an island where I knew no one she left me there for an entire year to fend for myself. That is, that is something very atypical when it comes to parents that really doesn’t happen. As a result…

And are you saying that John Muhammad became that father figure in your life?

Exactly. What happened is, my mom left me in December and in September, I’d met Muhammad in May, because I used to frequent his computer shop where I used to burn CDs because my landlord had cut off my electricity so that’s how I made money by burning CDs and selling movies. And I saw the relationship he had with his son and I used to go there every Wednesday to watch and we really didn’t get in contact until my mom met him in October that year and Muhammad had a business of bringing people to the US and that’s how we met.

But that relationship in my mind that hunger that hole was always there. And I needed, I needed, just someone to care enough to be with because it’s not as if I was a child who was continuously in trouble. I stayed in school. I was at the top of my class. I got good grades. I did everything that I could possibly do, but I did not get that time and…

John Muhammad gave you that time. You also seem to have said that he also maybe gave you too much time because you were abused by him. Talk to me about that.

Well that’s what happens when you have a child around an adult with no supervision. That is already vulnerable… People ask like how it happened and why you couldn’t leave… it’s a situation which the same thing happens to abused women. Many of whom are educated, very capable in all other facets of their lives but in that relationship they’re emotionally extremely vulnerable and so once someone has your mind they pretty much have everything.

Now it didn’t start out as that. It gets more into that and it was a means of control. That’s what it was about that’s what it was for and that’s what it was.

How did he abuse you?

Well it started off with petting and then it became sexual that was the abuse?

It became sexual you said?

Yes, that’s how the control became so powerful because the relationship was not only the father and son. He was telling me what he was doing to me by using analogies of a hunter stalking a prey and he would tell me what he was doing to me without really knowing that he was actually talking about me. And I realize it now, but I didn’t know it then. It’s very sick to think about but that’s exactly what happened and I mean there was no one there I mean I had been living on my own for an extensive period of time and it just it just happened.

You also said that he brainwashed you, correct?


But when you were first incarcerated, you seemed to have said that even though you grew up without a father you were still able to have a lot of control. So now it seems eleven years in that you’ve changed your tune to now blaming the fact that you didn’t have this father figure in your life, back then you seemed less remorseful. Are you more remorseful now.

Yes. When you’re seventeen years old it really doesn’t sink in exactly what you’ve done. Because up until then I’d been moving at a thousand miles an hour. There was no slowing down there was no opportunity to think. He did not give me an opportunity to think because when I’d think I’d have doubts so he always kept me preoccupied and on a need to know basis focused solely on a single task and uhm I never really had the opportunity to go over what was happening and its overall impact not only on myself but on others so that’s just what happened.

So you’re saying, while you were 17 years old and he essentially controlled your mind you had no control you had no thought about what you were doing you just killed.

It was a process that started when I met him he was just a father and had gotten arrested while I was with him and I took care of his children for months I took over the business I took care of his children I did what he asked me to do.

What kind of business, computers?

Yes, computers selling American birth certificates and passports the whole works that’s what he was doing and he had a safe house and that’s where I kept the children I homeschooled them and did everything with help from one or two others…

The relationship, this is what happened – I needed a father and I wanted my father to chase after me the way he chased after his children so in my mind he was always the hero because you don’t see that a lot in the Caribbean – a father with two children who would abandon his life just to have his children leave his business leave his money just to have his children that’s what I wanted from my father so immediately immediately everything for me was completely available and I just I told him pretty much everything about myself so he had the keys to my entire mind and how I work. I had a lot of rage and self hate.

(Incoherent) So it was easy to deface and destroy what was a very weak character. Because I had no roots. Between the age of seven and fifteen I’d already lived in 21 different places. I’ve stayed in cells longer than I’ve ever lived in any one place at any point and time in my life when I was (incoherent)

So he provided that roof over your head but at the end of the day you were still seventeen. Most seventeen year olds know right from wrong. What was different here. What was it that compelled you or made you think it was okay to shoot all those people.

What made it, it’s not so much OK, what made it possible was the philosophy. He had me under a philosophy that was a mixture of nation of islam with his own twist so instead of looking at people as people for example Americans per se as the enemy and as a part of the system, a system which he did not agree with and wanted to destroy.

When I came to highschool I had a lot of questions, about slaves, history, why are we still in this position. When I asked my teachers a lot of them felt, ‘cause I asked very forward questions and I did so in a respectful manner but I wanted answers as to how at four hundred five hundred years later we’re still in a position of basically to a certain extent being (incoherent) beggars, we’re even trying to struggle out of independence?? to become who we really are and they couldn’t give me answers. You know they would tell me that’s not what we wanna discuss in this class. If you’re studying world history that’s a relevant question.

I would go to him and ask him these questions and he would give me a bunch of half truths and answers
Because I already had enough rage and self hate it was easy to twist everything
He didn’t get me like, look, when I met him for the first nine months lets go kill people, it was not like that. The first time I went to kill someone it was not like that. I went through the process of a month vusualizing myself and the rage and shooting myself in the face because lee boyd malvo had to die to become lee Muhammad

But Lee…

It was a systematic process of destroying what I was
He says all your normal (incoherent),
Everything you believe has to die in order to become what I need you to be so we can put this family back together…

But Lee, from what I understand, from a very young age you were already abusing animals, correct, and torturing them.

That was something that was blown completely out of proportion. In Jamaica, we definitely don’t have a lot of pets. Cats and dogs don’t sleep in the house, where I grew up, they just don’t. I mean if I saw a cat, I would throw stones at it. Did I kill cats hang cats burn cats no. That’s not what happened. That was a statement that was completely blown out of proportion.

Let me ask you this: Jamaica, how did it, in your mind, inform your criminal ways. Did it have anything to do with your criminal ways. What age were you when you picked up a gun.

I was sixteen years old when I first picked up a gun.

So after meeting John Muhammad?

Yes, now see a lot of things had happened leading up to that. I lived in tktktktk and Tivoli in between three and seven years old I have seen, I mean I had a police officer’s brains on my shoulder, during raids I had seen violence. There was no therapy there was nothing so those were things that were never dealt with never discussed so I mean I had seen a lot of sick things in Jamaica and lived through on a daily basis.

So there were a lot of things. It was not. It ??wasn’t?? a switch. And before that I’d never been expelled never been suspended never been arrested never done anything violent

If I had found a mentor who was willing to help me to deal with what I was going through and lead me in the correct direction I would have been in highschool I was about to graduate at sixteen everything was

He took that rage and anger and self hate, a person that hates himself, hurting people hurt people

It’s very easy for someone who’s been raised to hate themselves not to value life

How many people did you hurt Lee? Because during the DC sniper shootings, ten people were killed three others injured but you said you’ve committed multiple other crimes. Can you recall how many people you’ve killed in total. That you’ve pulled the trigger and killed.


I would say, over probably 20 to two dozen.

22 Deaths?

Somewhere between twenty to two dozen, twenty to twenty four

You’ve personally killed twenty to twenty four people

For example I went through a process of training for months, which involved robbing, killing and (incoherent) whether it’s murder for hire, killing people, robbery with guns with knives with just your bare hands and I was evaluated after each quote unquote mission. It wasn’t a process of I just got up one day, it was a systematic process as if you were training someone… that’s how it was done so during that process I’m building up to what eventually happened.

From what I understand you reached out to some of these other victims that you either wounded or killed you reached out to their families. What was their response when you reached out to them.

Well In all honesty the ones that I reached out to actually made the effort to reach out to me first and that gave me the opportunity to actually speak to them and the response from most of those that reached out to me first there was pain there was anger but I think they were able to understand what I was saying because for the most part they were fathers who had children that were my age and once they heard what I had to say and that I wasn’t just picked up off the street one day and just told to kill people – this was a process nearly two years in the making. It was – the same thing happens to child soldiers every single day. This is nothing strange that doesn’t happen on a regular basis in the world that we live in… it just happened to happen here in this point in time.

It happens every single day there are Lee Malvos seen every single day…

I find that hard to fathom that there’s a Lee Boyd Malvo being created every day that somebody can be so damaged that they would think it would be OK to go out and wreak so much havoc on people, so many different people, you said twenty to twenty four…

It’s … I don’t know if you understand complete control. I don’t know if you understand when someone has complete control. The best example I can give you is when a woman stays in an abusive relationship for years up until the point that she gets murdered and dies. And yet they cannot leave. People can be that damaged in which they’re willing to accept that. It happens. And that individual lets the abuser have total domination and control. The moment it gets to that point the other party is pretty much a mental leech. There is a body but it’s really not a (incoherent).
That’s what happened. For me to explain to you what it is for someone to control your diet, when you sleep, what you see, what you eat what you listen to. To go through hypnosis. To go through meditation. To go through sensory techniques. It was a complete twentyfour hours there was no stop there was no time to think. Once he earned my trust, he pretty much had everything.

He had everything Lee that’s what you say…

The question that has bothered me the most is, what in me made me capable of doing that and pretty much what it boils down to is this when you really don’t care about dying you’re repressed and you’re very angry and rage is your drug of choice, if you hurt yourself it is not at all hard to hurt others

Lee are you looking to bring the story of this abuse and this control to light now because you’re hoping perhaps for some sort of sympathy from the general public. I noticed this week that your lawyers asked the federal courts to vacate the ten life sentences that you got on the basis that you weren’t quite eighteen at the time of your crimes right and so you shouldn’t have been given a life sentence to begin with. In your mind are the two aligned.

Would you repeat the question please…

I was asking, the issue of child abuse and control, why bring it up? Are you trying to get any sympathy from the general public about your circumstances?

I don’t know if you’ve ever been through a nervous breakdown or multiple nervous breakdowns to understand. Experience is the only way to know. You know by doing. So what I’m trying to say is someone would have had to went through that to understand what I’m saying…

The very first question my father asked me when he was me was if I’m a batty boy. That’s the very first question. He didn’t ask me are you OK? Are you hungry, he had money but, he asked me in so many words are you a faggot? We’re from a homophobic culture that has no tolerance or acceptance. Now do I identify myself as homosexual? No. But with what happened that’s the very first question this man asked me.

Do you understand when you had ran away to someone on multiple occasions and he tells you he don’t want nothing to do with you and the very first time he sees you the very first question he has to ask you are you a batty boy what that feels like and what it’s like to process that. I had to handle one thing at a time, I couldn’t overload myself by trying to deal with the entire gamut of what I had done. I just take piece by piece.

I’m in solitary confinement with no human contact. I can’t even see outside. In here I am psychologist I am priest I am teacher I am my own best friend and my own worst enemy. There is no ??Hope here?? So I dealt with this in a manner that wouldn’t allow me to crash and burn. I’ve woken up and hadn’t slept for days and just bleeding out the nose like I’m broken faucet

(Incoherent) come back from Iraq who’ll look at me and says you’re going through the same thing I’m going through. You’re going through PTSD, but in here there is no help.

If you talk to these people it just goes on your record and it can be used against you to keep me where I’m at

Even though during this entire time I’ve done everything that’s been asked and I’ve been charge free for nearly ten years, but it’s gonna be to my benefit. They’re gonna say look, something is wrong with him mentally.

So you’ve been in solitary confinement for ten years…

Yes… I’ve done everything, I’ve been charge free for ten years. I got one charge my first year in the system and I haven’t done anything since. And that wasn’t even a charge I did that was someone having a beef to pick with me because he was in the quote unquote national guard and he was pulled out in the street and he didn’t personally like me…

But Lee don’t you think that you deserve the harshest punishment that there is given the severity of your crime… by the way I saw this facebook posting, did you actually write this on facebook – quote’s facebook –

Let me ask you a question and I’ve seen this in my own eyes. I’ve seen someone who came from Rwanda who has done exactly the same things that I’ve done right here and he was fourteen or fifteen at the time. He’d been through horrid conditions his entire life. Murdered probably dozens of people at the hands of someone who had complete control over his life at the point of death and people look at them and understand that he’s a child soldier that’s …

If the exact same thing happens here it is as if it’s a Naazi that was somehow was bread and born like this when that is actually not the case. There are people right here in the US who I’ve seen on TV who I’ve seen in programmes who have done the exact or far more horrible things than I could ever dream of doing probably had to hack 25 or more people a pop and (incoherent)

And they’re granted asylum allowed to go to school. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to be punished, no that is not the case that’s not what I’m saying but that’s the disparity this is the reality as it is here

Your lawyers this week asked for the court to vacate your ten life sentences on the basis that you weren’t quite 18 at the time. I think you just brought that up the fact that this was you as a teen committing this crime. So in your mind are you saying you don’t really believe that you deserve a life sentence?

Life, as it stands now, six hundred years, twelve of those I believe if I get a chance at age 52 or something I mean I can function in society I honestly know that and I can believe that

So you think that you should be allowed to come out somewhere around fifty something?

Actually yes. That I mean… this is what happens, instead of keeping a man in prison for life they should just kill him because this is a slow death
You ever been in solitary confinement for two and a half years?

No but I also didn’t kill so many people though?

In fact these conditions are used as forms of torture.
Do you know what it is. I’ve been in ??Maryland?? in a pod by myself for two and a half years with no human contact except for somebody doing a round every fifteen minutes to make sure you don’t kill yourself. Do you know what that to the human mind.
Keep someone in a hole indefinitely with no chance of (incoherent) to be around
It makes no sense you might as well kill him because eventually you’re gonna lose your mind

Would you have preferred a sentence of death like your accomplice John Muhammad?

Compared to doing life in prison, yes. Right now, yes. This is a slow death. This is total deprivation. The (incoherent) imagine

Now, I’ve learned a few things and I’ve been able to come to grips to a certain extent with who I am and I’ve been able to forgive myself and for that opportunity I’m grateful, but then after when I’ve done that the question is what else what next.

They’re not the regular stages of human life and it sucks. I want to go to college to do a few things. There are no programs for people like me. There’s none. There’s a library, there’s a pen there’s a paper. I have no family support no money so I can’t go at these things on my own. I want to go to school I want to go to college. Some semblance of life something some goal something to try towards to create something. I don’t have that.

Lee what keeps you going every day. Is it religion?

Yoga and meditation is what keeps me balanced because it keeps me on, if I’m washing my clothes I’m washing my clothes, I don’t allow my mind to go anywhere else. I just focus on the task at hand. But I haven’t seen touched a blade of grass in ten years. I can’t see outside this cell. No contact with humans or animals. It has taken a toll.

So you don’t have visitors?

Every day I have to get up and create my own sense of purpose but (incoherent) you use yoga you use meditation you use tai chi even with my faith the monotony is still torture but I value myself and I have hope that it will get better so I keep trying but it’s really a very difficult situation for myself because I have no family support and I don’t have any funds or anything to do so it’s really a very difficult situation to balance out because I really don’t have any of the necessities that most prisoners do have. I’m not in contact with my father my mother aunts nieces nephews I mean they’ve pretty much except for one or two that I’ve heard from time to time they’ve pretty much written me off as …

So when as the last time that you were in contact with your mom…

My mother doesn’t speak to me. I haven’t heard from her. She asked me to sign over some property to her, which I did and that’s the last time I heard from her. When she wants something I hear from her other than that I haven’t heard from her in five and a half, six years.

And when you heard from her last was she in Jamaica or elsewhere?

The last time I heard from her she was in Jamaica. I don’t know where she is now or what happened.

And you said about your father that the first time he saw you he asked if you were a battyboy. When was that?

That was in 2002

2002 when you first got incarcerated?

I think 2003 I was in the jail at the time and he was brought up for testimony.

Him asking me that one question completely precluded me from even coming out and saying that. At that time I had my classmates writing me. To date I haven’t responded to any of my classmates. Several of whom have reached out to me. I mean I was ashamed. They were asking me you know during the CXCs I was looking for you in the papers to see what subjects you passed and I didn’t see you and I didn’t know how to deal with that. To think that they would know that about me…

They said it’s been thirty minutes I have to hang up….

Copyright © 2013 Global Reporters for the Caribbean. For permission to reuse any part of this transcript, please contact zahra@eighteendegreesnorth.com.

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