A Baltimore attorney who became a confidant of executed D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad said he plans to tell the convicted killer's story in a book.
J. Wyndal Gordon, 40, volunteered as standby counsel during the 2006 trial in Montgomery County, Md., in which Muhammad represented himself. Gordon told The Baltimore Sun for a Sunday story that the pair had forged a strong bond and that Muhammad had suggested the book idea.
"He didn't really trust anybody else like he trusted me," Gordon said of Muhammad. "I know his words. I have his writings. I know everything."
Muhammad, 48, was put to death Tuesday in Virginia for killing Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station during an October 2002 shooting spree that left 10 people dead and terrorized Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Gordon, who witnessed the execution, said the book will present Muhammad's story "without the filters and rules of evidence that prevented him from getting things in court." He said he already has an agent and a working title: "Jury of Our Fears."
Attorney Jonathan Sheldon most recently represented Muhammad and filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing his client was mentally ill and should be spared the death penalty. He said although he likes Gordon and believes Gordon bonded with Muhammad, the book is "inappropriate."
"I think it's really, really misguided to use a relationship with an executed client to make a book for profit," Sheldon said.
But Gordon insists on telling the story of Muhammad, whom he considers a sane man who was not properly served by the justice system. He described the sniper as a "very authentic person" who was "very genuine, great sense of humor, kind heart, would help anyone if he could."
Melanie Goldman, a cousin of Muhammad's in Virginia, said Muhammad told her that "when no one else believed in him, J. Wyndal Gordon believed in his innocence."
"I think it's awesome," she said of the book. "If the human side of John can get out and J. Wyndal can do a good job doing that, I don't see anything wrong with it, as long as it's factual."
Gordon said he was first drawn to the case out of curiosity and to help Muhammad get a fair trial.
"I thought, this is history in the making. And in the back of my mind, I knew there was some kind of writing — a book or something — involved in this case," he said.
The two exchanged letters and Muhammad requested books and music, he said. Gordon visited Muhammad only once on death row. Sheldon questioned Gordon's absence the last few years, saying it appeared odd if he and Muhammad had such strong ties.
The day of the execution, Gordon told reporters his former client had been wrongly convicted. Later, just minutes before the lethal injection, he said Muhammad told him: "I love you, brother." He then told Muhammad he loved him back.
"I was looking at him in his eyes," he said. "There was just no fear there, like he had resigned to it."