Larry King will broadcast the DC Sniper execution live at the prison with eye-witness accounts from the victims' families. The broadcast will be on Larry King's show at 9pm ET on CNN.
Capital punishment is legal in the Virginia. The first execution in the future United States was carried out in 1607. It was the first of 1,371 executions, the highest total of any state in the Union.
John Allen Muhammad was convicted of capital murder and terrorism charges for killing Dean Harold Meyers, a Vietnam veteran. Meyers was killed by a single bullet that hit him in the head October 9, 2002, as he filled his tank at a Manassas, Virginia, service station.
John Allen Muhammad,48, lso acarried out the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, killing 10 people with partner, Lee Boyd Malvo. During Muhammad's second trial in Maryland, Malvo testified that Muhammad originally planned to kill up to six people each day for 30 days.
Muhammad has chosen his final meal that will be served prior to his execution Tuesday night, but has asked that his choice not be revealed.
John Allen Muhammed has continued to profess his innocence during two long trials and in several years of legal appeals. If Muhammad enters the death chamber without acknowledging his crimes, he will be known as the leader of one of the most mysterious mass murder teams in history.
The procedure of execution by lethal injection is one that requires many steps. Death takes up to seven minutes but the entire preparation can take as long as two hours.
The intravenous injection is usually a sequence of drugs given in a set sequence, designed to first induce unconsciousness followed by death through paralysis of respiratory muscles and/or by cardiac arrest through depolarization of cardiac muscle cells. The execution of the condemned in most states involves three separate injections:
Sodium thiopental: ultra-short action barbiturate, an anaesthetic agent capable of rendering the offender unconscious in a few seconds.
Pancuronium: a muscle relaxant that causes complete, fast and sustained paralysis of the skeletal muscles. This would eventually cause death by asphyxiation.
Potassium chloride: stops the heart and causes death by cardiac arrest.
During the execution, the prisoner being executed is monitored for cardiac activity. Death is pronounced after cardiac activity stops.
Opponents of lethal injection believe that it is not actually painless as it has been deemed and have argued that the method of administration is also flawed.
However, there will always be those for and against execution, whether by lethal injection or other methods. It is a highly personal subject that many have strong opinions about.
Regardless of public opinion the execution of the DC Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, will happen Tuesday night at 9pm with almost no chance for cancellation. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine denied a clemency request from Muhammad's lawyers today, closing off what is likely to be his last avenue of appeal.
John Allen Mohammed's hand written letter to the judge here.
Sources: CNN, PLoS Medicine, LethalInjection.org