MANASSAS, Va. – Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad (search) espoused racist and anti-American views and said "America got what it deserved" on Sept. 11, 2001, according to a court filing made public Monday.
The documents also indicate that Muhammad was an unindicted co-conspirator on a federal charge of passport fraud (search) in December 2002, that he mugged an elderly man in Arizona in 2002, and that he was responsible for a February 2002 killing of a woman in Washington state.
The accusations against Muhammad were filed by prosecutors as part of a "notice of unadjudicated conduct," a list of bad acts that prosecutors may use against Muhammad at sentencing if he is convicted of the Oct. 9 shooting of Dean Harold Meyers outside a Manassas-area gas station. Muhammad faces a possible death penalty.
At a court hearing Monday, Circuit Judge LeRoy F. Millette Jr. placed the documents under seal, but they were made public later in the day when the judge learned that the court clerk's office had already put them on a court Web site earlier Monday.
The judge in June had instructed that the documents, when filed, would be sealed. It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors or the court clerk was responsible for seeing that the judge's order was adhered to.
Prosecutors have said last year's sniper spree, which killed 10 people and wounded three in the Washington area over a three-week span in October, was part of a scheme to extort $10 million from the government. But Monday's court filing gives one of the first glimpses of a possible non-financial motive for Muhammad.
Muhammad's alleged partner, teenager Lee Boyd Malvo (search), allegedly told two prison guards that racial hatred was a partial motivation for the shootings and that the only reason he shot black people was because the police would have caught them sooner if all the victims had been white.
Muhammad, 42, and Malvo, 18, have been linked to about two dozen shootings in several states. Neither Muhammad and Malvo have been charged with the shooting of Keenya Cook in Tacoma, Wash., but they are under investigation.
Cook, 21, was shot when she answered the door at her aunt's home. Another aunt had been the bookkeeper for Muhammad's auto repair business, and had angered him by siding with his wife during a bitter divorce and custody battle, according to investigators.
No further details of Muhammad's alleged "bad acts" were included in the documents.
Also at Monday's hearing, Millette denied a request from Muhammad's lawyers to hire a jury consultant to help them screen potential jurors. In addition, the judge denied a defense request for extra peremptory challenges when a jury pool is created.
Defense lawyers had asked to hire a consultant at taxpayer expense to help with jury selection for Muhammad's capital murder trial, set to begin Oct. 14 in Virginia Beach (search).
Defense lawyer Jonathan Shapiro had said the circumstances of the case -- especially the extensive pretrial publicity -- made it necessary to have an expert to help question potential jurors.
Prosecutors said a jury consultant was an unnecessary extravagance, and Millette agreed.
"The court is confident of the extensive experience of lawyers at both tables," the judge said. "Jury selection is certainly a skill that attorneys develop."
Also Monday, defense lawyers received a two-week extension before they must give notice of any mental health issues they plan to raise. Shapiro said mental health experts need to conduct tests on Muhammad outside the jail at Prince William Hospital.
Prosecutors had argued that no extension was necessary and that defense lawyers should have been barred from mounting a mental health defense because they missed last week's deadline.
Malvo goes on trial Nov. 10 for the shooting death of FBI analyst Linda Franklin at a Home Depot store in Falls Church.