Muhammad's Ex-Wife Speaks Of Abuse, Fears

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Never mind that her ex-husband is one of the most closely watched death row inmates in the country.

To this day, Mildred Muhammad never leaves home without the restraining order that bars sniper John Allen Muhammad from getting close to her and their three children.

"The only thing I know is he was coming to kill me," Mildred Muhammad said in an interview last weekend. "If he were to escape, I have that to show to say that he's not supposed to be near me."

Mildred Muhammad, 46, said she decided to speak publicly about her ex-husband because she feels prosecutors who have tried him in Virginia and Maryland have not thoroughly addressed what she believes his motive in the October 2002 shootings was: to kill her so he could recover his children.

Muhammad said in his opening statements in his current Montgomery County trial that he and Malvo roamed the Washington area -- during the terrifying three-week period when 10 people were slain and three injured -- looking for his three children, who were taken from him after he kidnapped them for 18 months.

"What would that mean technically?" his ex-wife asked rhetorically. "I would have to be removed."

Mildred Muhammad, who is now working at a family crisis center, is writing a memoir titled "Without a Beating Heart: Running from the DC Sniper -- My Ex-Husband."

Her publisher, Lloyd J. Jassin, requested that the interview be only 20 minutes and asked Mildred Muhammad to limit her disclosing of information about the memoir.

The book will underscore that thousands of women in abusive relationships have limited tools to protect themselves and fight back, Mildred Muhammad said.

"As we sit here, someone has called 911 for help," she said over coffee at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe & Grill near Dupont Circle. "How many of those calls have come and gone unheard?"

She declined to say whether she still lives in the Washington area and would not answer questions about her children, who are now 16, 14 and 13.

Mildred Muhammad worked on a different book project last year and intended to go on a book tour this month to coincide with her husband's Montgomery trial. She backed out of that deal, according to Penny C. Sansevieri, chief executive of Author Marketing Experts Inc., which was promoting the book.

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