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D.C. Sniper’s Jailhouse Bride Is a ‘Trust Fund Baby’ Turned Activist

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Lee Boyd Malvo, half of the two-man D.C. sniper team that killed 10 people in 2002, has found his “soul mate” in a wealthy political activist who spent a short amount of time in jail herself following a Black Lives Matter protest.

Malvo, 35, married Sable Noel Knapp, 30, in a low-key civil ceremony in Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison on March 6, according to a marriage certificate filed in the Wise County Circuit Court.

Knapp, part of a prominent Iowa family of property developers and power brokers, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political causes. However, the self-described “trust fund baby” has spent her adult years passionately advocating for social equality, wealth redistribution, and racial justice.

“She’s really committed to social activism, for sure, and I think she was always looking for ways to make changes,” lawyer Julian Richter, who represented Knapp in 2016 when she was arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest in Maine, told The Daily Beast on Thursday.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/AP
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/AP

Knapp lists her profession as a writer’s assistant living in Portland, Maine. Her grandfather, Bill Knapp, runs one of Iowa’s biggest real-estate companies and is responsible for building some of Des Moines’ most iconic buildings. Her late father, Roger, was a professional tennis player in the 1980s. Several buildings in Des Moines are named after the family, including the Knapp Center at Drake University, the Susan Knapp Amphitheater at the Iowa fairgrounds, and the William C. Knapp Emergency Department & Trauma Center at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.

Knapp, however, appears to have rejected much of her family’s lavish lifestyle and instead involved herself in grassroots activism. She did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.

Cameta Albarus, Malvo’s longtime mentor and social worker, said Knapp was a “wonderful woman” but declined to say more about Malvo’s new wife or how she got engaged to the convicted killer.

“I was there for the ceremony. It was a wonderful occasion and I’m very happy for the couple. They seem to be soul mates and they’re very happy they found each other,” she said.

On Thursday, Roger Knapp’s widow, Kem, told The Daily Beast: “I’m just gonna remain silent about the whole thing.”

The Washington Post first reported on the marriage but did not identify Knapp. Craig S. Cooley, one of Malvo’s attorneys, told the Post the bride was “a very impressive young lady. Educated. Her eyes are wide open.”

He said she started writing to Malvo about two years ago and began visiting him soon after that.

“She sees the good and sees Lee as I’ve always seen him, and I think the world would have seen him had Muhammad not taken over his life,” he said.

Malvo was 17 when he and John Allen Muhammad, 41, killed 10 people in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., during a three-week reign of terror. He was handed eight life sentences without parole.

Malvo, who authorities believed was brainwashed by the older Muhammad, expressed deep regret in a rare prison interview in 2012. “I was a monster,” he said.

He is largely kept in solitary confinement but was reportedly allowed to hold Knapp’s hand during a civil ceremony held in Red Onion’s visitors area.

Political donation logs show Knapp is a prolific contributor to Democratic causes, giving thousands to at least a dozen candidates including Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson, and Iowa Rep. Cindy Axne, as well as the Real Justice PAC. She donated $106,250 to unsuccessful Iowa gubernatorial candidate Cathy Glasson in 2017, while her grandfather gave $160,000 to Glasson’s rival Fred Hubbell.

However, in an article for the Des Moines Register, she railed against class inequality, writing that it was unfair for people like her to continue to profit from tax breaks.

“I am grateful for my family and the access I experience, while simultaneously feeling the magnitude of societal dysfunction and widening inequality,” she wrote in the 2017 article. “I see the way people I love are perpetually pushed back into the cycle of poverty even though they work hard, often at multiple jobs.”

Knapp had also penned online articles expressing support for Marianne Williamson’s now-failed 2020 presidential campaign, praising her “emotional resilience.” She wrote a book on socially responsible investing with financial adviser Stephan Kerby and is a member of Resource Generation, a national group of young people with wealth who campaign for the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power.

“I think she’s truly committed to whatever form of activism [she’s involved in],” Richter said, adding that Knapp’s prosecution following the Black Lives Matter protest was “not a big deal” to her.

Knapp was one of 18 activists arrested for blocking a roadway during a tense Black Lives Matter protest in Portland, Maine, in 2016, following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. She was bailed after spending a night in jail. Criminal charges were dismissed a year later after activists agreed to admit to a civil offense of disorderly conduct.

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