John Muhammad, a Devoted Dad?
Connecting the Sniper case to family court corruption and federal fatherhood program fraud.  (Part 1)
by Cindy Ross © October 28, 2002

For three weeks in October, the "Beltway Sniper" terrorized the Metropolitan Washington, DC area. Ten people were shot to death and three seriously wounded while they were doing routine activities like shopping, mowing grass, pumping gas, or going to school. The "Sniper" left cryptic and chilling messages referring to himself as "God" and threatening that children were not safe "anywhere, at any time."

After 22 days, following leads that took them from Maryland to Alabama and New Jersey to Tacoma, Washington, authorities arrested two suspects. John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17 were found at a rest stop sleeping in their car. Rifles confiscated from Muhammad's vehicle included an XM-15 and ballistic tests linked the rifle to the .223 caliber bullets used to shoot most of the victims.

Although John Muhammad has been described as a Muslim sympathetic to the September 11 attacks, a neighbor who knew him in Washington State described him as "... far less interested in talking religion than he was in complaining about his estranged second wife and the custody dispute over their three children". See NY Times, "Once Calmed by Faith, Suspect Turned Furious".

The Washington Post described Mr. Muhammad as a twice divorced "frustrated  father...whose ex-wives didn't trust him with his children." See Washington Post, "John Allen Muhammad".

Mr. Muhammad's ex-wives had good reason not to trust him, as well as to be fearful for their safety.  In violation of court orders, he abducted his three children (with his second wife Mildred) and took them to Antigua.  He later enrolled them in school in Tacoma under false names.  According to Mildred Muhammad, John was "a handy gun enthusiast" who "can make a weapon out of anything" and who threatened to kill her.  After she finally regained custody in Washington State, Ms. Muhammad fled into hiding in Maryland.

According to the NY Times, authorities in Tacoma are reviewing unsolved murder cases that might be linked to John Muhammad. They are especially interested in the death of Keenya Cook, who was shot in the face on Feb. 16 when she opened her front door.  Ms. Cook was the niece of a woman (Isa Nichols) who had worked for Mr. Muhammad as a bookkeeper.  Ms. Nichols had previously had a falling out with Mr. Muhammad, because she had sided with his ex-wife Mildred in their divorce.  See NY Times, "Co-Owner of Car Linked to Sniper Attacks Is Seized in Michigan as a Material Witness".

Despite concerns regarding John Muhammad's potential for violence and his violation of court orders, attorney John S. Mills of Tacoma, tried to help him find the children and regain custody after Mildred was forced to go "underground". According to the Washington Post (see previous linked article), Mr. Mills said of Mr. Muhammad:  "He was angry at how he was treated over his kids...He was never able to locate her. That went on for two or three months. Then he vanished."

The Washington Post reported that Mr. Mills described Mr. Muhammad as "devastated" by the "loss" of his children. According to Mr. Mills, his client was frustrated when he couldn't find the children, but he did not seem irrational: "He was a very normal, thoughtful, reasonable guy," Mills said. "He tried diligently to work it out. I don't know what people are supposed to do when they run up against a system where they are banging their heads up against the wall and there is no remedy."

John Mills' attitude, i.e., that Mr. Muhammad is a "nice guy" justifiably angry at getting caught up in a family court "system" (in which men "lose" children because of anti-father bias), is typical of all so-called "Fathers' Rights" (FR) attorneys. FR lawyers routinely assist abusive men get custody by covering up evidence and dismissing women's reports of abuse and attempts to protect themselves and their children as "false allegations" fabricated to maliciously prevent the father's "access" to the children.

Abusive men gaining visitation and custody with the assistance of FR groups and lawyers, is a well documented occurrence in courts across the country, most recently described in this article: See: "Fit California Moms Losing Custody to Abusive Dads published in
URL:  The connections between the Fathers' Rights agenda and the systematic bias against and victimization of mothers in courts, has been documented, including in the CA National Organization for Women "Family Court Report 2002", released in June 2002. See California NOW Family Court Report 2002, URL:

The National Alliance for Family Court Justice, founded in 1993 by Elisabeth  (Liz) Richards of Virginia, is a group of volunteers dedicated to addressing system failure in the courts and social services resulting in retaliation against non-offending parents who complain of family abuse, especially mothers of children who disclose sexual abuse. NAFCJ activists have determined that the problem underlying family court corruption is federal program fraud connected to the Fathers' Rights agenda: URL:

"Through the efforts of various highly financed Fathers Rights groups affiliated with secret judicial associations of family, conciliation, mediation and juvenile courts, who are united under the guise of promoting  non-litigious domestic dispute resolution along with other smokescreen covers such as responsible fatherhood, millions of middle and lower income citizens have been deliberately cheated of their legal right to due process. The efforts of "well-oiled" fathers rights activists who tap into "deep pockets (in their own words) of federal and private grants while traveling North America, Europe and Australia promoting pedophile friendly syndromes such as Parental Alienation Syndrome, have effectively silenced women and children's outcries of brutality, rape and incest to a vast array of professionals in the divorce industry."

For a summary of how FR groups and their court allies obtain -- and misuse -- federal program grant funds through DHHS (Access/Visitation programs, DOJ (Arbitration/Mediation) programs, Responsible Fatherhood Programs, Co-Parenting Programs, and other mislabeled court-based federally sponsored  “Family Services", please see my summary, originally posted at in July, 2002, "Family Court Corruption".

NAFCJ has obtained program documents regarding the Responsible Fatherhood programs, which show that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/Welfare programs are being used to recruit abusive men -- including incarcerated criminals -- into fathers' groups, where they are provided with "benefits" including free or low cost legal services to assist them with getting custody and getting child support obligations reduced or eliminated.

NAFCJ has been working with legislators across the country, requesting an investigation at the federal level into Fatherhood and related Child Support Enforcement Program, Access to Visitation Enforcement and Welfare Program fraud. One of the primary programs we have looked into, is the "Devoted Dads" program in Tacoma, Washington.

NAFCJ has determined that John Muhammad's former attorney, John Mills, is an attorney for -- and his legal assistant, Mario Young provided paralegal services to "indigent clients" at -- the Devoted Dads program: (See Footnote following this article which excerpts the relevant PDF FILE (Adobe Acrobat required).

Devoted Dads is funded by the Metropolitan Development Council. According to NAFCJ Washington State Director Martha Jacobson, Devoted Dads received at least 1.3 million dollars in federal grants between May 1998 and May 2000. On 8-5-02, in a tape recorded interview with Ms. Jacobson, Doug Swanberg of the Metropolitan Development Council confirmed that Mr. Mills was the "part time attorney" for Devoted Dads. This suggests that John Muhammad -- a "homeless" dad who abducted his kids and then applied for Welfare in Tacoma -- was not only a personal client of Mr. Mills, but was one of the "indigent clients" being provided services and "benefits" through the Devoted Dads program.

Ms. Jacobson has also obtained copies of correspondence between Doug Swanberg and David Arnaudo. Mr. Arnaudo is the administrator of the $10 million in federal access grants to the states, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who gave a presentation entitled "How to Obtain Access/Visitation Grants" at the Children's Rights Council National Conference in 1999. URL:

Children's Rights Council is the same organization identified by NAFCJ as the "umbrella" organization of the Fathers' Rights movement, which is cross affiliated with the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). As described in my article "Family Court Corruption", CRC/AFCC crafted "Parental Alienation Syndrome" (PAS) methodology -- working with "experts" who advocate pedophilia and incest -- as the means to assist child molesters and other abusive men get out of both criminal prosecution and child support obligations, while punishing mothers in supervised visitation and jail for reporting abuse.

There are many disturbing questions about the case of John Muhammad:

What was the nature of the relationship with John Malvo, a teenaged boy, whose mother "told school officials that something strange and Svengali-like was occurring between Mr. Muhammad and her son John Lee Malvo", who "was said to be devoted to the man, slavishly referring to him as father"?  See NY Times, "A Teenager From Jamaica Is Seen as Devoted Stepson",

Does the Tarot card left at the scene of one of the murders suggest connections to an occult group such as the Ordo Templi Orientis?  See "O.T.O. U.S. Grand Lodge: Welcome to Ordo Templi Orientis", URL:

Did John Muhammad come to the East Coast because he was told he could receive "assistance" with his own "custody" case from a DC based "fatherhood" group?

While we may not have answers to all of our questions regarding the case of the "Sniper", we believe that John Muhammad is exactly the type of "Devoted Dad" that is being assisted by federal programs and funds in custody proceedings across the country, by contracted attorneys like John Mills. And the "terror" inflicted by the "Sniper" is the same type of  "terror" inflicted on women and children -- especially abuse victims -- seeking "justice" in family courts.

For more information, please visit the NAFCJ website, URL:

Coming soon:

Part 2: More on federal program fraud, conflicts of interest, the National  Fatherhood Initiative and HHS Asst. Sec. Wade Horn

Part 3: How the California "Conciliation Court Law" is the basis of court corruption and fraud nationwide.

Cindy Ross
California Director
National Alliance for Family Court Justice

Please note references to NY Times and Washington Post articles contained in this article, may require "free" registration with these organizations in order to view the articles.





Mario E. Young
10409 Canyon Rd E
PMB 268
Puyallup, WA 98373
(253) 232-3200
[email protected]

Education: Clover Park HS, 1980's. 1990 Griffin College: AAS in Computers and Robotics. 2001 Tacoma Community College: AAS and Legal Assistant Cert. Begin Poli-Sci / Philosophy BA at UPS in Fall of 2001. Occupation: Freelance paralegal; Legal Assistant to John Mills WSBA # 15842; Provide legal services to indigent clients at Metro Development Council Devoted Dads program. Professional Qualifications: Been working since I was 16. 8 years in labor- related fields. 4 years as Chimney Sweep: environmental and safety educa- tion surrounding solid fuel heating systems. 6 years in the copier industry: Technical and Management. 6 years as a Sole Proprietor. TCC Administra- tion: Tenure, ADJ Chair Hiring, and ADJ Steering committees. TCC Student Body: President Lambda Juris Club, Senator, and Bylaws Committee. Personal Information: Born and raised in the greater Puget Sound area. Lived in Pierce County since 1969. Divorced Father. Community Involvement: Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association # 407; Devoted Dads Fatherhood Support Group; Tacoma Sportsman Club. Personal Views: Balancing fire safety issues against tax burdens isn't easy. My combined experiences allow me to see all sides of the issues and pro- ceed in an organized fashion. I am committed to protecting our community while advocating for lower taxes and limited government.