ROCKVILLE -- Unveiling a master plan that dwarfed the October 2002 random sniper shootings, Lee Boyd Malvo told jurors yesterday that had he and John Allen Muhammad not been caught, the two planned to make Baltimore the center of a murderous campaign in which they would have used explosives against children and police.
Malvo, 21, said the scheme was "Phase 2" of a plan to kill one police officer with a weapon other than the .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle the pair was using in the Washington-area sniper rampage, then set off explosives among mourners.
"Then dozens of officers would get to the funeral and you would have improvised explosives," Malvo said.
More explosives would target ambulances that rushed to the scene of the carnage, Malvo told a full and hushed courtroom. That and the plan to kill three busloads of schoolchildren were to begin Oct. 24, 2002, but were thwarted by the arrest of Muhammad and Malvo before dawn that morning at an Interstate 70 rest stop near Frederick.
They had planned to leave the rest stop after Muhammad's nap to shoot another sniper victim outside an Outback steakhouse in Frederick before going to Baltimore. But Malvo fell asleep on his job of keeping watch.
Meanwhile, refrigeration repairman Whitney Donahue, who had pulled into the rest area and recognized Muhammad's car from a police alert, called 911. The next thing he knew, Malvo said, he was face down on the ground, surrounded by officers.
Yesterday, more than three years after the arrest and more than two years after Malvo and Muhammad were tried and convicted in sniper shootings in Virginia, Malvo publicly gave his insider account of the killings for the first time.
Muhammad told him that their reign of terror would lead the government to accede to their $10 million extortion demand, Malvo testified. He said Muhammad's plan was to use the money to create a community in Canada to train 140 children as terrorists to carry out shooting rampages across the country and destroy the economy by killing 10 people a day.
Self-identified as the junior member of the sniper duo, Malvo gave an account that is a polar opposite of Muhammad's claim that both men are innocent of the six murder charges for which he is on trial. Malvo has agreed to plead guilty and accept six life sentences without parole in those killings.
"I think he's a coward," Malvo said of the man he once called "father." Then he turned and calmly spoke directly to Muhammad: "You took me into your house and made me a monster. You fed me, you clothed me, and you made me your child."
When Deputy State's Attorney Katherine Winfree asked the young Jamaican what his motive was for testifying, he replied, "I'm here just to tell the story, to tell the truth, to face Muhammad and for whatever it's worth, if anything," he paused and sighed deeply, "for the victims."
"I'm not proud of myself. I'm just trying to make amends if possible," Malvo said.
Malvo's chilling yet gripping story is the most dramatic testimony so far in the 12 days of the trial, as he outlined subplots that never came to fruition in Muhammad's grand scheme -revealing a far more expansive plot than previously had been made public.
"It was more terrifying than I expected. We had a reason to be scared," Mary Branch, a regular rider on the bus driven by the snipers' final victim, said during a courtroom break.
Muhammad is on death row for one Virginia sniper killing, and Malvo is serving multiple life sentences in Virginia for three shootings, two of them fatal.
Malvo spoke hesitantly at first but grew more animated as the day went on, using his hands as he describe things, sighing and furrowing his brow.
Malvo's testimony revealed that the 13 sniper shootings, 10 of them fatal, that terrorized the Washington region for three weeks in October 2002, were supposed to have been six shootings a day for 30 days.
Malvo testified that he backed down from Muhammad's plan to kill a pregnant woman in a shooting from a Baltimore cemetery after cutting a hole in a fence.
Aiming toward a fast food restaurant, he saw four pregnant women, Malvo said, but "just couldn't take the shot."
He said there was a helicopter overhead in an unrelated matter and that he didn't like the idea.
Malvo admitted that he stole a map book from a Baltimore public library, identified by earlier witnesses as the Reisterstown Road branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library - to find three schools whose buses the pair would follow.
He said they would learn where the buses were parked and Muhammad would plant explosives on the "soft spot" under each bus to kill children later while they were en route to school.
Malvo also said Muhammad had books on how to make explosive devices and had a plan to acquire explosives, including C4 plastic explosive. But Malvo said the Persian Gulf War veteran did not share the details with him.
The bombs that were to go off at the police funeral were to contain nails and ball bearings to maximize the damage.