Rockville, Md. — John Allen Muhammad said Thursday he was only searching for his children when he and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested in October 2002 in Maryland, denying that he and the young accomplice he called "son" were the Washington-area snipers.
Muhammad told jurors in opening statements at his trial for six Maryland killings that he and Malvo were shocked when a SWAT team pulled them from their car on Oct. 24, 2002, while they slept at a highway rest stop.
Inside the Chevrolet Caprice, authorities found a Bushmaster rifle that was linked through ballistics evidence to most of the 10 sniper murders and three woundings. A hole had been cut in the car's trunk, which authorities say was used to fire fatal shots at random victims.
Muhammad, 45, has been sentenced to death for a Virginia sniper killing and Malvo, 21, faces life in prison. In Maryland, Muhammad is charged with shooting six people in Montgomery County, where the October 2002 shooting spree began and ended.