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Sniper Terror Began One Year Ago

Denise Johnson, left, wife of sniper victim Conrad Johnson; Trina Young, middle, and Beverly Douglas, right, aunt of Conrad Johnson, pause during a candlelight vigil Wednesday Oct. 1, 2003, in Rockville, Md., to remember the ten people killed and the two who were wounded in the attacks which began a year ago Thursday.
AP
One year ago, James Martin of Silver Spring, Md., was shot and killed in a grocery store parking lot. His death marked the beginning of the sniper shooting attacks — a 21-day ordeal that left ten people dead and much of the Washington area gripped with fear.

Within the first 17 hours of the attacks, five people were gunned down in Montgomery County, Md. The killings then spread to the District, Prince George's County and Northern Virginia.

A year later, many people in the region have moved on. But Wednesday night, about 500 people attended a candlelight vigil in suburban Maryland to remember those who lost their lives.

"This helps keep the memory of my husband alive," said Denise Johnson, widow of Conrad Johnson, a bus driver who was the final victim of the sniper shootings on Oct. 22.

The fear of an unseen shooter targeting people for no apparent reason paralyzed the region.

"They were everyday people doing everyday things," said Ed Clark of Olney, Md., who attended the memorial. "It makes you appreciate your own life a little more."

As part of the ceremony, a Japanese red maple tree and a plaque were dedicated in the courtyard of the Montgomery County office complex.

Elected leaders also thanked the law enforcement officers who worked on the case.

Lee Malvo and John Muhammad are accused in the attacks. The pair appeared in a Virginia court on Wednesday. It was the first time they've seen each other since their arrests almost a year ago.

Malvo spent about five minutes on the witness stand and took the Fifth Amendment when he was asked about his relationship with Muhammad, who appeared to stare at Malvo throughout the questioning.

Defense lawyers had objected to Malvo, 18, coming to court. They said he could have asserted his Fifth Amendment rights through a written affidavit.