Written by: Lenorae Atter, Attorney at Law
Domestic violence issues in Florida and throughout the country can be seen in even the most heinous of crimes. Sometimes, the domestic violence can be a precursor for violence on others, including innocent, unrelated victims. A recent case is the much publicized case involving Jennifer Hudson’s family, but a case that struck many of us throughout the country, the sniper shootings in Virginia, also started with domestic violence. Mildred Muhammad, ex-wife of DC Sniper John Allan Muhammad, gave an interview to Larry King the night before her husband was to be executed for his crimes at a Virginia state prison. Muhammad left 10 dead in a shooting spree that his ex-wife believes was destined to end with her as its final victim.
Ms. Muhammad said she felt very guilty about the victims of her ex-husband’s rampage, which left millions of DC residents fearful of going out in public. She claims that she had done “everything I knew how to do” to bring Mohammad’s violent and abusive nature to the attention of authorities, but it wasn’t enough. And she has expressed feelings of shame for not realizing that his violent behavior would extend beyond her, to affect other people. Like many victims of domestic violence, Ms. Muhammad’s guilt lingers for her inaction, but domestic violence by another does not require the fault of the other spouse or victim, simply behaviors of violence that are so easily exposed by a trigger to the violent person.
Ms. Muhammad had divorced her husband because of his allegedly abusive behavior towards her. Authorities maintain that Muhammad started killing random strangers as a cover up, with the ultimate goal of shooting his wife the same way, so that he could take custody of their three children. Muhammad has always claimed that he is innocent of the charges.
After suffering from incessant abuse and a the violence that surrounded her family, Ms. Muhammad has worked through her guilty feelings and is concentrating on caring for her three children during this emotional time. Muhammad’s first wife, Carol Williams, was also interviewed by King, and said she planned to visit Muhammad in prison with their son before the execution. You can read more about the interviews at Ex-wife of infamous ‘D.C. Sniper’ felt guilty about shootings.
Domestic violence is very dangerous behavior, and it this case is a tragic example of how far it can go if left unchecked. People who are in reasonable fear of being in imminent danger of domestic violence should take very action to protect themselves, including calling the police and taking out an injunction.