unlikely to bring closure' />
Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammad's death is unlikely to bring closure to the families and friends of his victims and those terrorized by his October 2002 shooting spree, said a spokeswoman for a victim advocacy group.
"We don't believe in closure. It's almost a dirty word to us," said Sherry Nolan, assistant volunteer coordinator for the group Parents of Murdered Children, headquartered in Cincinnati. "The only thing it closes is the lid on a coffin. There's no closure because we'll never forget our sons, our daughters who were murdered."
Still, family members of victims are hoping Muhammad's execution will provide at least a large measure of relief, if not closure.
Relatives of Dean H. Meyers, one of the shooting victims, want to see Muhammad pay his "debt to society," said his brother, Bob Meyers.
Muhammad was sentenced to death in November 2003, after he was convicted of two capital offenses in Meyers' death -- committing multiple murders within a three-year period and committing murder as an act of terrorism.
Muhammad and his then-teenaged accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, killed 10 people and wounded three others in the Washington region.
Dean Meyers was the seventh victim. The Gaithersburg man was on his way home from work when he stopped at a service station near Manassas.
Meyers, an engineer, was gunned down with a single bullet as he pumped gasoline.
"We don't really have vengeance in mind or vindictiveness," said Bob Meyers, 56, of the impending execution. "We just feel it's an appropriate step in the process because of the choices [Muhammad] made. It provides some closure because of the horrific nature of my brother's murder."
Meyers is still haunted by photographs of the crime scene shown at the trial.
"It was a very horrific sight," he said. "This provides some closure in the final chapter of the whole sordid affair. At the same time, we feel we need to be at the execution for my brother. We feel it's the right step."
The sniper's attacks in the D.C. region began on Oct. 2, 2002, with the death of James D. Martin, 55, of Silver Spring, Md., who was gunned down as he stepped out of his car at a grocery store.
At the time, police believed it was an isolated incident. But the next morning, Muhammad and Malvo shot and killed four others in Montgomery County. Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the killings, is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Virginia.
On Oct. 14, 2002, Arlington resident Linda Franklin was fatally shot outside a Home Depot store in the Falls Church area. The shooting occurred about 9:15 p.m. at the Seven Corners Shopping Center.
Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, who was chief of police in Fairfax County during the sniper attacks, remembers the attack vividly. "I had just come home around 9 p.m. that night and had just taken off my uniform when my pager went off saying there had been a shooting in Seven Corners that looked like the others," Manger said Monday. "My heart dropped, and then that was it. We were a part of it. Overall, that entire ordeal was the most intense period of time in my 33-year career in law enforcement."
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by Muhammad's attorneys to block the execution based on claims that Muhammad is mentally ill and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder sustained during his service in the Persian Gulf War.
Manger, who says he still maintains contact with family members of one sniper victim, says that Muhammad's execution will not bring closure.
"Closure is not there. These families have been devastated. They will continue to be devastated long after Muhammad is put to death, so there is no closure," Manger said. "There is still too much pain that will go on after he is gone."
However, Manger says justice is served by the execution.
"There are but a small number of people whose execution really serves justice. Mr. Muhammad is among those few," he remarked.