10 years later, local victims of D.C. snipers still dealing with loss

TACOMA, Wash. -- Tuesday marks 10 years since the D.C. sniper shootings terrorized the nation, but the horror and heartache began much earlier for one Tacoma family.

It seemed like a tragic but random murder when Keenya Cook's family found the Tacoma woman shot dead on her doorstep. Months later they learned that the same men who went on an East Coast murder rampage -- John Muhammad and Lee Malvo -- started their killing spree in Washington by murdering Cook.

When Isa Farrington-Nichols looks at the doorstep where her beloved niece died, 10 years of loss comes rushing back. She believes Muhammad was looking for his wife and sent Malvo to the door with a gun.

Instead, Cook answered the knock.

"When she opened the door, he shot her point-blank in the face. And that was according to him, his test to see if he could follow instructions," she said.

From his prison cell, Malvo now says he regrets the murder spree that devastated so many families. The duo is linked to 27 shootings, including 10 murders around the District of Columbia.

"I mean, I was a monster," Malvo said. "If you look up the definition, I mean that's what a monster is. I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people's' lives."

Farrington-Nichols has picked up the pieces since her family was shattered a decade ago. She started a foundation to fight domestic violence and wrote a book exploring the origins of the sniper shootings. She traces the deadly rampage to a change Muhammad made when he lived in Tacoma with his wife.

"Where am I at 10 years later? i still want the world to know that we have to deal with domestic abuse at the onset, at that precipitation, we have to do more there," she said.

As for Malvo's recent apologies, Farrington-Nichols said one thing he said rings true.

"He implored the victims, the family members of the victims, to not let him or John have the victory in their lives," she said.

Muhammad was executed in 2009 and Malvo is serving a life sentence. Farrington-Nichols is working on a film that focuses on domestic abuse and how it led to the DC sniper shootings.