Ten years after he and a partner terrorised the Washington DC area by randomly shooting residents, Lee Boyd Malvo said yesterday that watching the husband of one of his victims as she fell to the ground made him feel like "the worst piece of scum".
Known as the "Washington snipers", Malvo, who was 17 at the time, and John Allen Muhammad began their deadly spree 10 years ago tomorrow.
They were tied to 27 shootings across the country, including 10 fatal attacks around the capital. The pair drove a car modified to allow one of them to lie in the boot and fire a rifle through a hole near the number plate.
While Muhammad was sentenced to death and executed in 2009, Malvo was sentenced to life in prison.
He spoke of his remorse to the Washington Post, singling out the moment they shot Linda Franklin, 47, outside a DIY superstore and the anguish on her husband's face.
"They are penetrating," he said of Ted Franklin's eyes. "It is the worst sort of pain I have ever seen in my life.
"Words do not possess the depth in which to fully convey that emotion and what I felt when I saw it. You feel like the worst piece of scum on the planet."
The attacks all but paralysed the US capital, as people were shot at random while going about their everyday life pumping gas, buying groceries, and for one young boy, as he went to school.
Malvo repeated previous assertions that he was manipulated by the older Muhammad. But he acknowledges: "I was a monster."
When asked what he would say to victims' families, Malvo said there's no way to properly convey an apology.
"We can never change what happened. There's nothing that I can say except don't allow me and my actions to continue to victimise you for the rest of your life."
Linda Franklin's father, Charles Moore, was incredulous about the idea that victims' relatives would be able to forget about what Malvo and Muhammad did.
"What he did just destroyed my family. I'll never be able to put it aside. Never. There are things that stand out in your life that you think about. I'm 83 years old and I'll carry it to my grave."
- Independent, APBy David Usborne