LaRuffa, now 65, sold his restaurant in 2008 and lives in Southern Maryland. For nearly two months after the attack, he was shaken nightly by vivid flashbacks — worse, he says, than any nightmare he had ever had.
Then police found Muhammad and Malvo with his laptop, solving the crime, and the flashbacks ended.
When LaRuffa learned that Malvo had laughed and bragged during his initial interviews with investigators, he was furious.
"I would say things like, 'I'm 55, but I'll take my shot. Put me in a room with him and give me a shot.'
"But that feeling changes because I learned — and I'm glad I learned or figured it out or something, somehow — that if you keep that feeling, you destroy yourself. ... If you hold that anger in you, then he wins far past shooting you."
LaRuffa dismisses Muhammad, who never admitted any wrongdoing, as a sociopath. He skipped his execution, he says, because he didn't want to let him steal another day of his life.
"It's not going to make me feel better watching him die," LaRuffa said.
Malvo, in contrast, has shown remorse and apologized to the families of some of his victims. Over the years, LaRuffa has thought about reaching out to him.
"I believe there's a chance he is a different person," LaRuffa said. "Not in any way that he's not responsible or they should let him out or anything. But I think somehow, humanly, he's different than he was."
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