Malaika Griffin

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Malaika Griffin
Born Malaika Tamu Griffin
(1971-05-11) May 11, 1971 (age 46)
Other names Lake Griffin
Occupation Biochemist
Criminal penalty Life in prison
Criminal status Imprisoned at LaVista Correctional Facility in Pueblo, Colorado
Parent(s) Alice Griffin (mother)
Conviction(s) First-degree murder, Aggravated robbery, Aggravated motor vehicle theft

Malaika Tamu Griffin (born May 11, 1971) is an American woman serving a life sentence for a hate crime murder of a white man, at the LaVista Correctional Facility in Pueblo, Colorado for shooting her neighbor Jason Patrick Horsley to death in May 1999. In a backpack of hers was found her diary stating her hope to start a race war and her hate of white people. She also wrote about how black people do not have to pay bills. Her goal was to start a war against whites and get rid of what she considered "this white problem".[1] After the shooting, Griffin became a fugitive from justice for six years, but after she was profiled on America's Most Wanted, Griffin was captured in El Cajon, California, a suburb of San Diego, in June 2005.[2]


Malaika Tamu Griffin was born on May 11, 1971.[1] She graduated magna cum laude from Jackson State University and received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. Griffin was known to be a 'loner', and after her graduation from JSU, she went on a solo backpacking journey in Europe. In 1999, she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she was working in a pharmacy and was renting a room in a house next door to a white couple: Jason Patrick Horsley and his girlfriend Deborah Loiselle. Jason Horsley was a carpenter, and Griffin became angry when Horsley laid his tools on the sidewalk in front of her house after work. A bitter argument ensued on May 18, 1999.[3]


After arguing with Jason Horsley on May 18, 1999, Griffin returned to her apartment and came out with a 9 mm handgun with a laser sight and shot Horsley point blank in the back, killing him instantly.[4] Immediately after the incident, Griffin fled to the nearby home of an acquaintance, Monique Thomas. Griffin stole Thomas' car at gunpoint and then drove away. The car was later found abandoned in Iowa City, Iowa.[2]

Inside Malaika Griffin's apartment, police found a 9 mm carbine, ammunition, hand grenades and the library of a terrorist, with books about terrorism and bomb making including The Anarchist Cookbook, Home Workshop Silencers and The Poor Man's James Bond. In addition, Griffin's diary was also discovered. In it, Griffin expresses her deep hatred for white people.[3]

Fugitive years and capture[edit]

Griffin had last been seen boarding a bus to Chicago, Illinois. After that, there had been no sighting of her for years.[3] On May 22, 2004, more than five years after the murder, Griffin was profiled again on America's Most Wanted, and then again a year later on June 4, 2005. After the second showing, authorities received a tip from Griffin's co-workers.[5] The FBI and the El Cajon Police Department contacted the suspect, who had been going by the name "Lake Griffin." After the FBI confronted her, Griffin admitted her identity.[3] She had been working at a biotech firm as a lab assistant, at a fast-food restaurant and thrift store.[2] Griffin was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, and aggravated motor vehicle theft. She waived her extradition and was returned to Colorado to stand trial.[5]


Griffin's trial began on February 27, 2006.[4] During the trial, Griffin's jury read excerpts from her diary about her hatred of white people. One of her entries reads: "I am so sick of looking at white people!! I am so goddamn tired of them!! I wish I could kill those no good faggot, pedophilic, rapists, thieves & make it painful, (very)."[6] Prosecutors also entered into evidence the weapons found in Griffin's apartment after she fled. Griffin decided to testify in her own defense at the trial. She claimed to be innocent of the offenses, and said her diary was about a play she was writing. After a one-week-long trial and seven hours of jury deliberations, Malaika Griffin was convicted on all counts.[7] Under Colorado law, a first-degree murder conviction results in an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.


Griffin's case was profiled on the Oxygen Network program Snapped on February 3, 2008 and on Investigation Discovery's Deadly Women on October 12, 2012.

Griffin filed an appeal in April 2009 to the Colorado Court of Appeals. She argued that her convictions should be overturned because her trial attorney was not licensed to practice law in Colorado, her notebook entries, self-defense instructions, and prosecutorial misconduct. All of her claims were denied, and her convictions were all affirmed on April 16, 2009.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Griffin, Malaika". Colorado Department of Corrections. 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Woman Arrested in 1999 Denver Slaying". Denver News. 2005-06-07. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Black Female Terrorist-Undercover?". Panache Report. 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  4. ^ a b "Trial Begins For Woman Profiled On 'America's Most Wanted'". Denver News. 2006-02-27. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  5. ^ a b "Malaika Tamu Griffin". America's Most Wanted. 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  6. ^ a b "Colorado Court of Appeals -- April 16, 2009 No. 06CA0784. People v. Griffin". Colorado Bar Association. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  7. ^ "'America's Most Wanted' Female Fugitive Guilty Of Murder". Denver News. 2006-03-06. Retrieved 2011-05-17.