One of the D.C. sniper's ex-wives said Thursday that she has fully healed from the abusive marriage she endured with him, and is helping her children cope with knowing their dad won't be a part of their lives.
Mildred Muhammad, 49, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that she and her three children watched news coverage of John Muhammad's execution in silence at their Maryland home. When his death was announced, the children — John, 19, Salena, 17, and Taalibah, 16 — went into different rooms and cried.
"It was very difficult to see them in that kind of pain," Mildred Muhammad said. "Because I know what was going through their head — 'this is my dad, he should be in my life, this should not be happening.'"
Her ex-husband was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday in Virginia for killing Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station during a series of killings in 2002 that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area for three weeks. His then-teenage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, is serving a life sentence without parole for his role in one of the slayings.
'First day, complete day'
For Muhammad, however, the execution marked her recovery since leaving her abusive ex-husband a decade ago.
"I woke up yesterday thinking this is the first day, complete day of the rest of our lives that John's presence will not be felt," she said.
Mildred Muhammad said her ex-husband did not respond to his children's requests to see him, and she said she was not surprised he offered no last words.
"I had began saying a week or two before the execution that if anyone was looking for John to apologize or take responsibility for his actions, they're waiting in vain," she said. "I didn't expect him to say anything. I expected him to do just what he did — close his eyes, not look at anyone and that's it."
She said she expects John Allen Muhammad's funeral next Tuesday in Baton Rouge, La., will bring some closure. The family also plans to retrieve letters he left for the children from another ex-wife.
With the man who once threatened to kill her now gone, Muhammad said she plans to continue her anti-domestic violence advocacy and continue supporting her children as they adjust. But one remnant of her ex-husband remains — a protective order against him she's kept for years.
"There's no need for me to carry it anymore," she said. "I guess I need to make a decision to take it out of my wallet, because it's still there."