DC Sniper, Attorneys, Victims' Families Prepare For Execution

5:48 PM, Nov 10, 2009   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block Tuesday's scheduled execution for the DC Sniper.

The hours leading up to 9 p.m. Tuesday are extremely tense for both the victims' families and the attorneys who hold out hope Muhammad's life will be spared.

9NEWS NOW talked with two men from very different positions who will be at the prison to watch Muhammad die. Nelson Rivera wants to witness his wife's killer's last moments. And Jon Sheldon has done everything possible as the DC Sniper's attorney to save the killer's life.


Nelson Rivera's wife Lori was vacuuming her car at a gas station when she was gunned down and killed. Rivera says, "They don't belong here they don't belong on this earth they are monsters."

Nelson Rivera would be celebrating his 15th wedding anniversary this month had it not been for the DC sniper who killed his wife Lori as she was cleaning out her car. He's waited 7 years for Muhammad's execution.

Rivera says, "I want to see him die because he gave no chance to my wife and none for the victims."

One person who will have contact with Muhammad in the last moments of his life will be the killer's attorney Jon Sheldon. With the High Court's ruling Sheldon sees the chances dim for Muhammad's life to be spared. Sheldon says he is sympathetic with the victims' families but he just wanted the courts to hear about his mental illness.

A disappointed Sheldon says, "Precisely those cases that evoke the most emotion, the most anger should abide by the same rules. It should not be rushed to judgement. Our argument has been based on his mental illness. He ought to get one hearing."

Rivera says, "No, that's what I call a joke, he's not mentally ill."
He says, "After tomorrow he will not be here I won't think about him anymore, and this will be last chapter of the book and leave it there and my wife will live in my heart everyday.

Although, Rivera has made a new life in California, remarried and has a new family, it hasn't stopped the pain of missing Lori.
Rivera says, "He ruined my life, my wife's life, my daughter's life all our family just devastating, yep. This won't bring her back. Justice, I believe in justice."

Governor Tim Kaine will make a decision whether to grant clemency Tuesday. The prison has denied Muhammad's family visitation. Muhammad's attorneys are still waiting for Muhammad's children to get the chance to see their father one last time.

Muhammad's family is not allowed to witness the execution.

Written by Surae Chinn
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com

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