John Allen Muhammad (born December 31, 1960) is a spree killer from the United States. With his younger partner, Lee Boyd Malvo, he carried out the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, killing 10 people. Muhammad and Malvo were arrested in connection with the attacks on October 24, 2002, following tips from alert citizens. Born John Allen Williams, Muhammad joined the Nation of Islam in 1987 and later changed his surname to Muhammad. Drawings by Malvo describe the murders as part of a "jihad" (Arabic for "struggle"). At Muhammad's trial, the prosecutor claimed that the rampage was part of a plot to kill his ex-wife and regain custody of his children, but the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support this argument.
His trial for one of the murders (the murder of Dean Harold Meyers in Prince William County, Virginia) began in October 2003, and the following month, he was found guilty of capital murder. Four months later he was sentenced to death. While awaiting execution in Virginia, in August 2005, he was extradited to Maryland to face some of the charges there, for which he was convicted of six counts of first-degree murder on May 30, 2006. Upon completion of the trial activity in Maryland, it was planned that he next be returned to Virginia's death row unless some agreement is reached with another state or the District of Columbia seeking to try him. He has not been tried on additional charges in other Virginia jurisdictions, and faces potential trials in three other states and the District of Columbia involving other deaths and serious woundings. Some appeals had been made and rejected, but others remained pending.
On September 16, 2009, a Virginia judge set a November 10, 2009, execution date for Muhammad. On November 9, 2009, The Supreme Court of the United States refused a last-minute appeal. Barring clemency by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, the court's action clears the way for Muhammad's execution on Tuesday, November 10, at 9:00 pm (EST).