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Two split reward in D.C.-area sniper case

$350,000 to one tipster, $150,000 to other


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Lee Boyd Malvo
John Allen Muhammad
Crime, Law and Justice

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two men will share a $500,000 reward for providing information that led to the capture of convicted D.C.-area snipers Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad.

Robert Holmes of Tacoma, Washington, will receive $350,000 for providing information that led to the identification of the snipers.

Whitney Donahue of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, will receive $150,000 for telephoning police after spotting Muhammad's car at a rest stop in Frederick County, Maryland.

As police started a nationwide investigation looking for clues in the sniper case in October 2002, Holmes called police to report that Muhammad and Malvo had been using a tree stump for target practice in the back yard of Muhammad's house in Tacoma.

At the time police discovered the stump, sources said agents wanted it because they believed it might have been used for target practice and might contain potential ballistics evidence.

During Muhammad's trial, Holmes testified that Muhammad used it to test a home-made noise suppressor after saying to Holmes, "Imagine the damage you can do if you shoot with a silencer."

Holmes testified that Muhammad introduced him to Malvo saying, "He is a sniper." When Holmes heard the D.C.-area shootings might involve a Bushmaster rifle and perhaps a team, Holmes called the FBI.

Donahue, 38, praised Holmes on Saturday night.

"If Holmes hadn't done what he did, I couldn't have been at the spot where I could help out," Donahue told CNN. "I feel good about it."

In the early hours of October 24, 2002, Donahue, a refrigerator mechanic, pulled into a rest stop in Myersville, Maryland, where he spotted a dark blue Chevrolet Caprice, similar to the car sought by authorities in the case, and called 911. Police found Muhammad and Malvo inside the car.

Donahue said he had been scared, but not so much as to stop him from acting.

"Without the crucial information provided by Mr. Holmes and without the phone call from Mr. Donahue, we could not have caught these suspects," Montgomery County, Maryland, Executive Douglas Duncan told reporters Saturday.

The sniper shootings started in Montgomery County on October 2, 2002. Ten people were killed and another three wounded before Malvo and Muhammad were arrested.

Authorities received more than 60,000 tips during the sniper investigation.

Malvo was sentenced to life in prison without parole earlier this month in Virginia for one of the killings. Muhammad was sentenced to death for a separate slaying.


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