D.C. Sniper victim remember horror
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Former Alabama liquor store clerk Kellie Adams still has difficulty going out in public 10 years after she was shot during a robbery that was tied to the "D.C. Snipers" case.
Adams was severely wounded and Claudine Parker was killed on Sept. 21, 2002, when they finished closing up a state liquor store in Montgomery. A gun brochure found near scene tied the shootings to Lee Boyd Malvo.
Adams told The Montgomery Advertiser that she went through 30 surgeries in five years. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and hospitalized for psychological problems. Her marriage ended in divorce, and her ex-husband got custody of their daughter.
She said she hopes the public will use the 10th anniversary to remember the 13 people who were killed and the six who were wounded in the multi-state crime spree.
Adams now lives in Lumpkin, Ga., with Steve Ogle. She said still has night terrors about once a week about a gunman chasing her and she struggles with anxiety.
"I almost never go out in public," Adams said. "If I have to go to the grocery store, there is so much anxiety for me to get in and get out. I'm on medications, and they keep me relaxed a little bit, but I'm still hyper-vigilant."
The public had not heard of Malvo and John Muhammad when Adams was shot in the face and neck and Parker in the chest 10 years ago. That wouldn't start until after the killings began in the Washington area on Oct. 3, 2002.
James Graboys, a retired police major, responded to the Montgomery shooting and chased a black juvenile who disappeared despite a large police presence. Graboys, who would later identify Malvo at trials in Virginia and Maryland, said he believes Muhammad was waiting nearby with the getaway car.
Montgomery police knew quickly they didn't have an ordinary robbery-homicide. Mike Myrick, who was a homicide detective then, said the women were not shot at close range with a handgun, which is typical for a robbery. They were shot at some distance by a high-powered rifle.
A fingerprint on a gun brochure matched Malvo's fingerprint and tied Alabama to the D.C. snipers case.
Adams said she was shot while headed home to her 16-month-old baby and husband. She said she never heard the gun, and the bullets felt like an electric jolt. Part of her face ended up on her chest and she remember pressing the flesh back into place.
Muhammad and Malvo were not prosecuted in Alabama. But Muhammad was convicted and sentenced to die in Virginia. Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the crimes, got a sentence of life in prison without parole. Montgomery District Attorney Ellen Brooks said it's unlikely a trial will be necessary in Alabama given his sentence.
Adams was invited to witness Muhammad's execution by legal injection on Nov. 10, 2009.
"From the time I was shot, I wanted to be there, but I talked to friends who said it might not be best for my mental state," she said.
That same month she went to work on a traveling carnival to try to get away from what happened.
"I figured it would be full of people who had no direction, and I had no direction," she told the Advertiser.
After 15 months, she found that wasn't the answer.
Ogle, a man she had met earlier, communicated with her on Facebook and said he wanted to be with her.
About a year and half ago, they settled in Lumpkin.
She said she's with a man she loves and sees her daughter once a month.
"Right now, it's as happy as I think it could be. It would be happier if my daughter could live with me," she said.