Lee Boyd Malvo, who with John Allen Muhammad terrorized the Washington area a decade ago in one of the nation’s most notorious killing sprees, told NBC’s “Today” show that he was sexually abused by Muhammad beginning at age 14 and continuing until they were arrested. In a series of interviews with The Washington Post last month, Malvo flatly denied any sexual contact with Muhammad. But in a 40-minute telephone interview with “Today’s” Matt Lauer on Wednesday, he told a different story.
“For the entire period when I was almost 15 until I got arrested, I was sexually abused by John Muhammad,” Malvo said in the interview, excerpts of which aired Thursday.
Malvo told Lauer that the reason he was speaking up for the first time about being abused by Muhammad “is because I am more mature. As far as the guilt that I carried around for several years, I dealt with that to a large extent year. And now, I can handle this.”
Malvo also told Lauer there are victims of the pair’s shooting spree who have not been identified — a claim he has made in the past, including in last month’s Post interviews — and he indicated that he has reached out to the families of some of those victims.
Over 21 days in October 2002, the snipers ambushed 13 strangers in the Washington area, killing 10 of them.
Muhammad was executed for his role in the murder spree in 2009. Malvo, now 27, is serving a life sentence at Red Onion State Prison in southwest Virginia.
In a two-hour interview with The Post — his only face-to-face media interview — Malvo said he was not in any way sexually molested during his relationship with Muhammad and denied any sort of sexual relationship between the two.
He said that many people — including his father — have asked him about whether he was sexually involved with Muhammad and that he found such allegations “outlandish.”
Malvo told The Post he was sexually molested by a neighbor and by relatives as a boy in the Caribbean — he did not discuss specifics — but said he has been “celibate” throughout his life since. In the “Today” interview, he said he was sexually abused by a babysitter when he was 5 and by relatives a few years later.
Malvo also did not mention any such sexual contact with Muhammad in a recent book by defense mitigation expert Carmeta Albarus, in which Albarus provided a lengthy and detailed accounting of Malvo’s childhood and his reflections on the shootings.
The shootings appear to have erupted out of Muhammad’s fury at his ex-wife, who had moved away from Washington state with their children in secrecy and ended up living in suburban Maryland. Malvo told Lauer that he felt powerless to refuse Muhammad’s orders that he shoot at the victims they had targeted.
“I couldn’t say no,” he said. “I had wanted that level of love and acceptance and consistency for all of my life and couldn’t find it.”