Finger-painting with Daisy and Lily

Messy fun!


American insanity at large

John Allen Muhammad, a Gulf war veteran and drifter, was found guilty yesterday of the "Washington sniper" killing spree, during which 10 people died and three were wounded last year.
A jury in Virginia Beach took less than seven hours to convict him on four counts: murder, terrorism, conspiracy and illegal use of a weapon.
He was the first person to be convicted under Virginia's new terrorism law, after prosecutors successfully argued that the murders were intended to spread fear among the population.
Two hours after deliverlng the verdict, the jury began considering the sentence. The minimum allowable was life in prison without parole, but most observers predicted the death penalty was more likely.
Virginia is second to Texas in its use of the death penalty, and the attorney general, Jobn Ashcroft, had the trial moved to Virginia expressly because it was more likely than Maryland, where most of the killings took place, to execute.
Muhammad heard the verdict without expression; two jurors cried as it was read out.
Muhammad's alleged accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, is on trial In nearby Chesapeake.
The Jamaican teenager's lawyers have argued that he was in thrall to the 42-year-old war veteran who turned him a killing machine.
In a murderous odyssey across America, the pair struck in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana, killing three people and wrounding three, before arriving in the Washington area, where Muhammad's ex-wife and children lived.
Most of the victims in the Washington area were killed while running daily errands.
Throughout the manhunt the sniper taunted the Washington area pollce with a series of messages. A handwritten letter was found tacked to a tree near the Virginia restaurant where a man was shot, with the postscript: "Your children are not safe anywhere at any time."
After an acquaintance in Washington state tipped off the FBI that Muhammad might be involved, a description of his 1990 Chevrolet Caprice was issued and within hours, he and Malvo were caught asleep in the car at a roadside rest stop last October.
A circular hole had been cut in the car's boot, through which the snipers were able to take aim at their targets.
The prosecution was not able to link Muhammad forensically to the Bushmaster rifle used in the killings and found in the car, but the judge instructed the jury on the last day of the trial that it could consider the car itself to be a murder victim.
Muhammad had pleaded not guilty at his trial, and had tried to conduct his own defence on the first day before resorting to his lawyers after a rambling address to the jury.

Julian Borger in Washington, writing in the Guardian (Tuesday 18 November 2003)


Richard's off to France!

Broon's bar
  Rachel, Ian, Alan, me, Nic and Richard
  Richard needs french lessons
  the survivors leaving Broon's ...
  ... and going to the Balaka ...
  ... where Alan transmogrified!


some Cellar Bar characters



Andi's last unmarried working day

lunch at the Doll's House
  the blushing bride-to-be