Mildred Muhammad is no longer Scared Silent

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
By Abbey Khan

They say behind every man is a woman, and this was the case of John Allen Muhammad, aka the DC Sniper. When Muhammad randomly killed 10 people in 2002 in the DC metro area, he was really gunning for his ex-wife Mildred Muhammad.

In her memoir Scared Silent: When the One You Love Becomes the One You Fear, Mildred opens up about their tumultuous twelve-year marriage, how John kidnapped their three children and went on the run for 18 months, and how John threatened to kill her. “I knew he could kill. He was a military man and had fought in a war. I also knew that he had promised to kill me because he believed I had taken his children away from him,” she writes. “And I knew John to be a man of his word when it came to a threat or a promise of revenge… But I did not foresee, not even in my wildest nightmare, that John would ever kill people who had nothing to do with me or our troubled marriage.”


Mildred writes about the John she met and the John he had become, whose troubling behavior started after returning from military duty in the Persian Gulf in the early 90’s. “I was accustomed to living with a John who was typically enthusiastic and expressive… Instead, the John who returned from the Gulf acted like somebody had run over him and flattened him out,” writes Mildred. “The first thing he told me was that he wanted to get out of the military. He sounded completely disillusioned and discouraged by the military. He said, ‘The United States is wrong, and I don’t want to be a part of this madness anymore.’ He told me about his anger at having to dismantle bombs that our country had given Saddam Hussein. ‘How do you know they were our equipment?’ I asked him. ‘They had USA stamped on them,’ he replied.”

John Allen Muhammad was executed by legal injection in Virginia on November 10, 2009. Mildred Muhammad has become a nationally recognized spokesperson for domestic violence, an advocate for victims of crime, and is the founder of the non-profit organization After The Trauma.

SCARED SILENT: When the One You Love… Becomes the One You Fear
A Memoir by Mildred Muhammad
Available in bookstores now
Strebor Books/Simon & Schuster
$23, 304pp.

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