FAIRFAX, Va. - Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad complained to a judge Tuesday that his jailers refuse to let him wear underwear and have restricted his access to his legal files.
A sheriff's spokeswoman denied the claims made at the conclusion of a pretrial hearing in the second capital murder case against Muhammad, a former Tacoma resident. Trial is scheduled for October.
"How does it make the courtroom safe with me coming in, no T-shirt, no underwear, no socks?" Muhammad asked Judge Jonathan Thacher.
Muhammad has been under tight security since a pretrial hearing last month in which he briefly slipped out of a waist chain, giving him a sizable length of chain that could have been used as a weapon.
He appeared in court Tuesday with his wrists cuffed closely to his sides. He winced in pain several times as deputies attempted to get him seated at the defense table. The deputies said Muhammad was resisting their efforts, but Muhammad said several times, "I'm not doing anything."
Muhammad was convicted and sentenced to death last year for the Oct. 9, 2002, murder of Dean Harold Meyers in Prince William County. The murder was one in a string of sniper attacks over three weeks that instilled fear in the Washington, D.C., area.
The weapon linked to the shootings, a Bushmaster .223 semiautomatic rifle, came from Bull's Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma. After the shoootings, the store reported it stolen.
Prosecutors in Fairfax County seek a second capital murder conviction for the slaying of FBI analyst Linda Franklin. They say the prosecution is necessary in case the initial death sentence is overturned on appeal.
Capt. Karen McClellan, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office, said Muhammad has access to underwear, socks and T-shirts and is free to wear them.
Muhammad also said jailers restrict his access to mail from his lawyers and allow him to access only one of his legal files at a time.
"The excuse is, 'It's a fire hazard.' Who'll start a fire? I don't have any matches," he said.
Muhammad's lawyers argued in the two-day hearing that a change of venue is necessary because of the shootings' impact on the potential jury pool.
Prosecutors are opposed, saying it will be easy to find an unbiased jury in Fairfax County - a large, diverse county of 1 million that attracts tens of thousands of new residents every year.
Thacher said he would rule on the issue shortly.