The Execution of John Muhammad

UPDATE:  Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has denied John Muhammad’s request for clemency.

This evening Texas and Virginia, the two most prolific executing states in the USA, are both slated to carry out lethal injections.  Texas has scheduled an execution for Yosvanis Valle – a Cuban national – while Virginia is preparing to put to death John Allen Muhammad, known by most simply as the “DC sniper”.  The crimes for which John Muhammad is known inflicted serious trauma not just on the victims  and their families but on the entire Washington DC area.

But we at Amnesty International oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception.  Like torture, the deliberate killing of prisoners is a fundamental violation of human rights.  No human being, no matter how unsympathetic or how heinous the crimes for which he has been convicted, should ever be subjected to the kind of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that both torture and executions represent.  There are lines that we as a society should simply not cross, or lines that we should not cede to our governments the power to cross.  And there have to be better ways to respond to traumatic crimes than with violations of basic human rights.

Beyond these human rights concerns, there are some other issues that make the execution of John Muhammad problematic.  Evidence of severe mental illness was not presented to the jury during the sentencing phase of his trial.  Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has been presented with this evidence and could still recommend clemency on that basis. 

If both these execution do proceed as scheduled, they will be the 44th and 45th executions in the country this year.  Yet also this year, 9 men have been exonerated from US death rows.  That means that for every 5 people executed, one person has been found innocent of the crime for which he was sentenced to die.  That’s a spectacular failure rate for a system that employs an irreversible punishment.  This year also saw the revelation that in 2004 Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham for setting a fire that, as it turns out, was probably not arson at all.  The fact is, as long as our criminal justice system is run by fallible human beings, mistakes will continue to be made, and along with punishing the guilty and the “worst of the worst”, we will also be sentencing to death, and occasionally even executing, the innocent.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

28 thoughts on “The Execution of John Muhammad

  1. The 9 men who have been exonerated can also be pointed out by those of us that support the death penalty. Whatever technicality or DNA evidence or what have you… saved those men from being executed. The system worked.

    As far as John Muhammad goes…just learned moments ago GOV denied his request for clemency.

    Thank you for posting your opinions and giving me insight to your perspectives. Still think there is a time and place for capital punishment though.

    We won't agree on the appropriateness of the death penalty, and John Muhammed certainly doesn't value the life of the innocent near as much as you value the life of a mass murderer.

  2. Thank you, Brian Evans. I feel that the other Brian will keep gloating over death row inmates like Khristian Oliver and John Muhammad, as Brian the death penalty supporter believes that executing people "brings justice, peace, and closure to murder victims' families and prevents crimes from ever occurring again", while joining Texas and 34 other U.S. states in still ignoring the death penalty's countless flaws and defying the U.S. Constitution in executing foreign nationals, people with mental illnesses, and innocent people in spite of fair trials. Even today, Texas is STILL defying the U.S. Constitution and continues to be a subliminal mind-warp U.S. state under so-called governor Rick Perry. And less than a week ago, religion has trumped the law and controlled the U.S. courts, as Khristian Oliver, son of artist Kermit Oliver, was killed by the state of Texas for the murder of Joe Collins in spite of the fact that he got an unfair trial that was plagued by the Bible, which was used in the wrong hands by jurors who pervert God's name using Numbers 35:16-19. Despite the ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court that the jurors had crossed the line by interpreting the Bible instead of state law, the sort of external influence that the Constitution prohibits, the courts denied him appeals, and there was no word from so-called Governor Rick Perry, who assuredly denied Khristian clemency! And now Texas is thanking the Bible-thumping "jurors" for helping to kill Khristian Oliver in spite of an unfair trial, having the Collins family getting their vengeance in the form of justice satisfied and causing Oliver's family more grief in the execution of their loved one, proving once again that the court is ruled by religion, and that it doesn't matter if religion is permitted in courts or not, the criminal is still gonna be killed anyway! This is truly the final straw, and I feel like crying for both the Collinses and the Olivers! And since Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has denied clemency for John Muhammad, I will continue to cry and pray for him, Yosannis Valle, and their families and for the families of their murder victims, as they are about to undergo the pain in the losses of both Muhammad and Valle, that they may truly find their peace with God in their final hours up to their imminent execution. Since Oliver believed that he was responsible for the murder that I don't condone, I feel that his heart was turned to goodness while he was on death row, and I truly hope he made his peace with God before he died, and I also hope Muhammad and Valle will follow the same example. My condolences go to the Collinses and the Olivers in both losses. No matter what, we will never give up the fight against the death penalty. Until then, may Khristian Oliver and Joe Collins rest in the eternal peace they truly deserved, and the peace and justice that were denied for Oliver on earth. :cry:

  3. Also, why is Brian the death penalty supporter still here?! I was about to post it just now, and he shows up to sabotage the efforts of AIUSA! As much as you, Brian the death penalty supporter, hate AIUSA, and so does sittingnut and judo nimh, you continue to hate sinners and kill them, because you believe in vengeance that will send all sinners and murderers to hell by executing them, and I don't like you anymore! :evil:

  4. It is good that this man is going to be executed. The role of every government is to protect its citizens normal regular people who make their living working hard, etc. Not protect psycho criminals that rejoice in killing innocent people. It is just non sense what Amnesty International says about death sentence. I will like to see what the people of this organization do if a very close member of their family gets killed but a criminal like this one. You guys talk about Human rights, so where are the rights and justice for the victims?

  5. The 9 men who have been exonerated can also be pointed out by those of us that support the death penalty. Whatever technicality or DNA evidence or what have you… saved those men from being executed. The system worked.

    As far as John Muhammad goes…just learned moments ago GOV denied his request for clemency.

    Thank you for posting your opinions and giving me insight to your perspectives. Still think there is a time and place for capital punishment though.

    We won’t agree on the appropriateness of the death penalty, and John Muhammed certainly doesn’t value the life of the innocent near as much as you value the life of a mass murderer.

  6. "Sabotage" really?

    "Gloat" really? Where? I just updated folks.

    I'm participating civily in this discussion.

    I don't "hate" Amnesty International… I just disagree on this issue. There is a difference.

  7. Thank you, Brian Evans. I feel that the other Brian will keep gloating over death row inmates like Khristian Oliver and John Muhammad, as Brian the death penalty supporter believes that executing people “brings justice, peace, and closure to murder victims’ families and prevents crimes from ever occurring again”, while joining Texas and 34 other U.S. states in still ignoring the death penalty’s countless flaws and defying the U.S. Constitution in executing foreign nationals, people with mental illnesses, and innocent people in spite of fair trials. Even today, Texas is STILL defying the U.S. Constitution and continues to be a subliminal mind-warp U.S. state under so-called governor Rick Perry. And less than a week ago, religion has trumped the law and controlled the U.S. courts, as Khristian Oliver, son of artist Kermit Oliver, was killed by the state of Texas for the murder of Joe Collins in spite of the fact that he got an unfair trial that was plagued by the Bible, which was used in the wrong hands by jurors who pervert God’s name using Numbers 35:16-19. Despite the ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court that the jurors had crossed the line by interpreting the Bible instead of state law, the sort of external influence that the Constitution prohibits, the courts denied him appeals, and there was no word from so-called Governor Rick Perry, who assuredly denied Khristian clemency! And now Texas is thanking the Bible-thumping “jurors” for helping to kill Khristian Oliver in spite of an unfair trial, having the Collins family getting their vengeance in the form of justice satisfied and causing Oliver’s family more grief in the execution of their loved one, proving once again that the court is ruled by religion, and that it doesn’t matter if religion is permitted in courts or not, the criminal is still gonna be killed anyway! This is truly the final straw, and I feel like crying for both the Collinses and the Olivers! And since Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has denied clemency for John Muhammad, I will continue to cry and pray for him, Yosannis Valle, and their families and for the families of their murder victims, as they are about to undergo the pain in the losses of both Muhammad and Valle, that they may truly find their peace with God in their final hours up to their imminent execution. Since Oliver believed that he was responsible for the murder that I don’t condone, I feel that his heart was turned to goodness while he was on death row, and I truly hope he made his peace with God before he died, and I also hope Muhammad and Valle will follow the same example. My condolences go to the Collinses and the Olivers in both losses. No matter what, we will never give up the fight against the death penalty. Until then, may Khristian Oliver and Joe Collins rest in the eternal peace they truly deserved, and the peace and justice that were denied for Oliver on earth. :cry:

  8. Also, why is Brian the death penalty supporter still here?! I was about to post it just now, and he shows up to sabotage the efforts of AIUSA! As much as you, Brian the death penalty supporter, hate AIUSA, and so does sittingnut and judo nimh, you continue to hate sinners and kill them, because you believe in vengeance that will send all sinners and murderers to hell by executing them, and I don’t like you anymore! :evil:

  9. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  10. Brian I am a forensic psychologist and work with criminals on a daily basis and I can tell you this with certainty less than one percent of one percent can ever have their behavior modified, they seem to be improving in a controlled environment, however once out, the needs serving behaviors and desired objectives take over . As for Debbies liberal manifesto, the tone of her response is what usually occurs when judgement is ruled by emotion rather than common sense, knowledge rather than perception and basic facts. Debbie… remember that the best defense is not neccessarily to go on the attack. Frankly I am against the death penalty due to the simple fact that it costs more to execute a person than it does to keep them incarcerated for life… the problem is that jail time now is not significantly different from living at a Motel 6… and actually has more amenities Cable TV, Computers, Workout Rooms, 24/7 Health care and Libraries stocked with some inappropriate material… did you know that over the last few years over a dozen towns in MA closed libraries due to lack of funding, but the recently built jail in Middleton, MA has a million dollar library… what is wrong with this. The heart of the debate lies here… and note the HRN references to the Constitution… when one person commits a violent rape/murder/torture or criminal infringement, they in fact by the doctrine of implied consent, give up any rights that they ever had as they violated that basic constitutional right to "quiet posession". Amendment 14 in the Bill of Rights is interpreted conveniently at times.

  11. It is good that this man is going to be executed. The role of every government is to protect its citizens normal regular people who make their living working hard, etc. Not protect psycho criminals that rejoice in killing innocent people. It is just non sense what Amnesty International says about death sentence. I will like to see what the people of this organization do if a very close member of their family gets killed but a criminal like this one. You guys talk about Human rights, so where are the rights and justice for the victims?

  12. “Sabotage” really?

    “Gloat” really? Where? I just updated folks.

    I’m participating civily in this discussion.

    I don’t “hate” Amnesty International… I just disagree on this issue. There is a difference.

  13. i am not sure where i stand, other than it just seems really sad, that this great society had to take a human life. Whether he was mentally ill or not, it would seem rather foolish to me for anyone to justify the death penalty when the results are tilted to be against the poor, minorities and the disenfranchised. How can anyone in good concience be for the death penalty when it is so inequitably exercised against the voiceless…then we take one notorious person to justify using it. When there are people in prison, who have done far worse….but, with money and good connections, etc….you can get life in prison at trial time. At the beginning i said i am not sure where i stand…but, i guess i should have said i am against the death penalty in the us of a.

  14. Brian I am a forensic psychologist and work with criminals on a daily basis and I can tell you this with certainty less than one percent of one percent can ever have their behavior modified, they seem to be improving in a controlled environment, however once out, the needs serving behaviors and desired objectives take over . As for Debbies liberal manifesto, the tone of her response is what usually occurs when judgement is ruled by emotion rather than common sense, knowledge rather than perception and basic facts. Debbie… remember that the best defense is not neccessarily to go on the attack. Frankly I am against the death penalty due to the simple fact that it costs more to execute a person than it does to keep them incarcerated for life… the problem is that jail time now is not significantly different from living at a Motel 6… and actually has more amenities Cable TV, Computers, Workout Rooms, 24/7 Health care and Libraries stocked with some inappropriate material… did you know that over the last few years over a dozen towns in MA closed libraries due to lack of funding, but the recently built jail in Middleton, MA has a million dollar library… what is wrong with this. The heart of the debate lies here… and note the HRN references to the Constitution… when one person commits a violent rape/murder/torture or criminal infringement, they in fact by the doctrine of implied consent, give up any rights that they ever had as they violated that basic constitutional right to “quiet posession”. Amendment 14 in the Bill of Rights is interpreted conveniently at times.

  15. i am not sure where i stand, other than it just seems really sad, that this great society had to take a human life. Whether he was mentally ill or not, it would seem rather foolish to me for anyone to justify the death penalty when the results are tilted to be against the poor, minorities and the disenfranchised. How can anyone in good concience be for the death penalty when it is so inequitably exercised against the voiceless…then we take one notorious person to justify using it. When there are people in prison, who have done far worse….but, with money and good connections, etc….you can get life in prison at trial time. At the beginning i said i am not sure where i stand…but, i guess i should have said i am against the death penalty in the us of a.

  16. Brian: 'I don’t “hate” Amnesty International… I just disagree on this issue. There is a difference.'

    You do not understand the issue. It's not a matter of political agreement/disagreement, it's a matter of inhumanity and barbarism..

  17. Brian: ‘I don’t “hate” Amnesty International… I just disagree on this issue. There is a difference.’

    You do not understand the issue. It’s not a matter of political agreement/disagreement, it’s a matter of inhumanity and barbarism..

  18. It is more inhumane and barbarian to keep alive psycho criminals that not even have any remorse for what they do. It's very simple when you have a virus in your system you kill the virus not the patience. When a psycho criminal kills an innocent human being that very moment looses his humanity. Amnesty International should stand for the victims not for the criminals

  19. It is more inhumane and barbarian to keep alive psycho criminals that not even have any remorse for what they do. It’s very simple when you have a virus in your system you kill the virus not the patience. When a psycho criminal kills an innocent human being that very moment looses his humanity. Amnesty International should stand for the victims not for the criminals

  20. Michael-

    I understand the issue more then you will ever know.

    Shooting dozens of innocent victims as young as 13 years old is inhumane and barbaric. Rape is barbaric! Burning or burying someone alive is barbaric! Intentionally inflicting antagonizing, brutal, sadistic pain on an innocent victims (old, young, men, women, some the most defenseless among us) is barbaric. Tearing an innocent, defenseless human from it's mother's womb is barbaric.

    The following is not barbaric or inhumane:

    1. An anaesthetic agent that FIRST puts the convicted mass murderer asleep and unconscious.

    2. A muscle relaxant that instantly causes paralysis of all the convicted murderer's muscles.

    3. Followed by potassium chloride that stops the heart.

    Now, if John Muhammed had been killed in the same fashion as his victims …then I might agree that would have fallen within the definition of barbaric and inhumane.

    But this procedure is not barbaric.

    Don't "hate" you either Michael.

  21. Michael-

    I understand the issue more then you will ever know.

    Shooting dozens of innocent victims as young as 13 years old is inhumane and barbaric. Rape is barbaric! Burning or burying someone alive is barbaric! Intentionally inflicting antagonizing, brutal, sadistic pain on an innocent victims (old, young, men, women, some the most defenseless among us) is barbaric. Tearing an innocent, defenseless human from it’s mother’s womb is barbaric.

    The following is not barbaric or inhumane:

    1. An anaesthetic agent that FIRST puts the convicted mass murderer asleep and unconscious.

    2. A muscle relaxant that instantly causes paralysis of all the convicted murderer’s muscles.

    3. Followed by potassium chloride that stops the heart.

    Now, if John Muhammed had been killed in the same fashion as his victims …then I might agree that would have fallen within the definition of barbaric and inhumane.

    But this procedure is not barbaric.

    Don’t “hate” you either Michael.

  22. Pingback: Advantages of Online Pet Store | Pets 'r' us

  23. Pingback: Advantages of Online Pet Store | Pets 'r' us

  24. Pingback: Advantages of Online Pet Store | Pets 'r' us

  25. Pingback: Advantages of Online Pet Store | Pets 'r' us

  26. Pingback: Advantages of Online Pet Store | Pets 'r' us

  27. Pingback: Advantages of Online Pet Store | Pets 'r' us

  28. Pingback: Advantages of Online Pet Store | Pets 'r' us