Sniper John Allen Muhammad faces Nov. 10 death sentence

There were three weeks in October 2002 when people in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia could not walk outside without the fear of getting shot.  During this time, the then 41-year-old John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old, Lee Boyd Malvo shot 13 innocent civilians, killing 10. Muhammad has since been sentenced to be executed on Nov. 10.

According to, Muhammad was convicted in 2003 and has been sentenced to execution in Virginia.  His accomplice Malvo has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.  Muhammad was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to death for killing Dean H. Meyers in Manassas, which was just one of the 10 sniper slayings that month.

The sniper shootings greatly affected the CHS community mainly because of the lengthy time period that the snipers were on the loose.  The shootings forced the school to enhance its security, and the security guards screened everyone who entered the building.

According to security team leader Terry Bell, who was working at CHS during the sniper incident, the shootings were very disruptive to the school day, and there was apprehension because no one knew what might happen.

According to assistant school administrator Jan Fisher, sports teams were unable to practice or play outside while the snipers were at large. This was especially a problem for senior athletes because they were unable to perform in front of college scouts during the period of the shootings.  Also, P.E. classes were unable to go outside.  

During the sniper shootings, CHS was under a modified code blue during which students were locked in the building due to the possibility of a dangerous person outside.

“We had to keep the students in class for the lunch period, and they ate in classrooms,” Spanish teacher Gayle Jones said.  “Segments of the building were dismissed to go to the cafeteria and bring lunch back to the classrooms.”

Students in the CHS community are divided in their beliefs about the death penalty.  Sophomore Will Conway is in support of the decision.

“I think he is getting what he deserves,” Conway said.  “He just sat in his car and shot people.” 

On the opposing side, senior Christen Fagan feels the death penalty is wrong. 

“I think that the death penalty is a little harsh,” Fagan said. “Life in prison should be enough misery for whoever the criminal is, and a person has one life, and whether they mess it up or not, they should live until their natural death.”