The Making of Lee Boyd Malvo

The Making of Lee Boyd Malvo: The D.C. Sniper

Carmeta Albarus
with forensic analysis by Jonathan H. Mack
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/alba14310
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  • Book Info
    The Making of Lee Boyd Malvo
    Book Description:

    In October of 2002, a series of sniper attacks paralyzed the Washington Beltway, turning normally placid gas stations, parking lots, restaurants, and school grounds into chaotic killing fields. After the spree, ten people were dead and several others wounded. The perpetrators were forty-one-year-old John Allen Muhammad and his seventeen-year-old protégé, Lee Boyd Malvo.

    Called in by the judge to serve on Malvo's defense team, social worker Carmeta Albarus was instructed by the court to uncover any information that might help mitigate the death sentence the teen faced. Albarus met with Malvo numerous times and repeatedly traveled back to his homeland of Jamaica, as well as to Antigua, to interview his parents, family members, teachers, and friends. What she uncovered was the story of a once promising, intelligent young man, whose repeated abuse and abandonment left him detached from his biological parents and desperate for guidance and support. In search of a father figure, Malvo instead found John Muhammad, a veteran of the first Gulf War who intentionally shaped his protégé through a ruthlessly efficient campaign of brainwashing, sniper training, and race hatred, turning the susceptible teen into an angry, raging, and dissociated killer with no empathy for his victims.

    In this intimate and carefully documented account, Albarus details the nature of Malvo's tragic attachment to his perceived "hero father," his indoctrination, and his subsequent dissociation. She recounts her role in helping to extricate Malvo from the psychological clutches of Muhammad, which led to a dramatic courtroom confrontation with the man who manipulated and exploited him. Psychologist Jonathan H. Mack identifies and analyzes the underlying clinical psychological and behavioral processes that led to Malvo's dissociation and turn toward serial violence. With this tragic tale, the authors emphasize the importance of parental attachment and the need for positive and loving relationships during the critical years of early childhood development. By closely examining the impact of Lee Boyd Malvo's childhood on his later development, they reach out to parents, social workers, and the community for greater awareness and prevention.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51268-8
    Subjects: Law, Sociology, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction: A Nation in Fear—the Crime
    (pp. 1-32)

    On October 2, 2002, the local news reported a fatal shooting in the parking lot of a grocery store in Montgomery County, Maryland. Within fifteen hours, a wave of five fatal shootings in Montgomery County brought residents of the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia corridor face to face with their worst fear—terrorism in their backyards. “Where will the next strike occur?” was the question in people’s minds as chaos gripped the area. Restaurants and many stores closed, plummeting business and commerce to low levels. Many gas stations hung shields around their pumps. Frightened residents, fearing a sniper nearby, nervously...

  5. 1 A Father Lost: The Genesis of Reactive Attachment Disorder in Lee Boyd Malvo
    (pp. 33-88)

    On February 18, 1985, in Kingston, Jamaica, Lee Boyd Malvo, the son of Una James and Leslie Malvo, was born. However, his story does not begin there. To understand Lee Malvo and the forces that shaped him and facilitated the persona of John Lee Muhammad, we have to understand the legacy his parents handed to him.

    Leslie Malvo, born in St. Andrew, Jamaica, on December 26, 1947, traces his paternal lineage to Spain. According to Leslie, his father, Burby Malvo, was a World War I veteran who relocated to Jamaica after the war. Leslie stated that the correct spelling of...

  6. 2 A False Father Found: Malvo Meets John Muhammad
    (pp. 89-160)

    It was during the early days of October 2000 that Malvo first encountered John Muhammad. This was in St. John’s, Antigua, at an electronics shop Malvo visited to use the computer and play video games. The shop, operated by Jerome and Leonie Martin, was affectionately called Zaza Yellow’s. It was a popular spot on the island, as it provided a variety of computer and electronic equipment for the children of the neighborhood, including Malvo.

    I enjoyed the PC games they played there. The shop was usually crowded with my peers but I usually found a little corner and watched the...

  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  8. 3 A False Father Rejected: Separating Malvo from Muhammad
    (pp. 161-187)

    “My dad gave me consistency, 100 percent unconditional acceptance, and he led by example.” That was the response when I asked Malvo what he saw in John Muhammad that engendered such loyalty and devotion. After doing the requisite research into Malvo’s life, I could understand why those qualities meant a lot to him.

    When he met Muhammad, Malvo’s life had been marked by the opposite of what Muhammad seemed to represent. The inconsistency came from a mother who displayed severe mood swings. According to Malvo, he did not know from one minute to the next which Una he would be...

  9. 4 A Forensic Mental Health Analysis of Lee Boyd Malvo
    (pp. 188-236)
    Jonathan H. Mack

    As a forensic psychologist/neuropsychologist, I perform forensic neuropsychological and psychological evaluations, frequently for criminal cases in which a person has been charged with or convicted of capital murder. This involves interviewing the accused; reviewing copious case materials and background information; administering, scoring, and interpreting batteries of neuropsychological and psychological tests; writing forensic reports; and testifying, when called upon, about my diagnostic conclusions and opinions. I have evaluated hundreds of murder cases from a neuropsychological or psychological mental health standpoint in the guilt and penalty/punishment phases of the trial and in the postconviction/appeals phases. I have had some cases in common...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 237-240)

    It has been ten years since the events recounted in the first three chapters of this book. John Muhammad has been executed and Lee Malvo remains incarcerated at Red Onion State Prison, where he has been sentenced to spend the remainder of his life. The extent of the tragedy and trauma cannot be excused or minimized. And yet there are lessons that can still be learned.

    In more than two decades of doing this work with a variety of clients, I have been repeatedly confronted with certain themes that were evident in the Malvo story. Issues of neglect, abuse, abandonment,...

  11. REFERENCES
    (pp. 241-244)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 245-258)