Religion's Role in John Allen Muhammad's Sniper Case

October 27, 2002

Source: The New York Times

On October 27, 2002 The New York Times reported that "by many accounts, religion had always been a stabilizing factor in the life of John Allen Muhammad, who is charged with murder in the sniper rampage that killed 10 people in the Washington region. But as the behavior of the sniper suspect careened out of control this month, so did the character of the religious utterances -- furious proclamations of 'I am God' and belligerent telephone calls to priests -- that law enforcement officials attributed to him. A rapid and bizarre change in religious beliefs, especially the delusion of being God, is not rare among serial killers and others who commit violent crimes, according to mental health experts who study extreme criminal behavior."