Watch Sayfullo Saipov: Divided jury means Biden admin won’t hand out first death sentence in NYC bike path killer case – Latest News
Sayfullo Saipov, who was convicted in January of using a truck to kill eight people in a 2017 terrorist attack on a New York city bike path, will not face the death penalty, a split jury ruled on Monday.
The case was seen as a key test for the Biden administration’s contradictory position on capital punishment.
The DoJ sought Saipov’s execution, despite the president’s stated opposition to capital punishment. A unanimous verdict by the 12-member jury would’ve meant the first federal death sentence handed down under the Biden administration.
Instead, Saipov, who was convicted of 28 charges, including murder and providing material support to a terrorist organisation, will spend the rest of his life at a maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado, according to the Associated Press.
During Saipov’s trial, prosecutors argued the the 35-year-old was a self-styled member of Isis, calling himself a “soldier of the caliphate” and requesting to hang an Isis flag in his hospital room after he was apprehended.
The attacker’s attorneys did not deny Saipov’s role in the killings, but rather sought to distinguish them as lone wolf attacks and not part of a coordinated plot conducted with an international terrorist organisation, a distinction which could’ve impacted his sentence. They said he was planning to die as a martyr, a notion he latched onto while spending time on the internet during his days as a long-haul truck driver.
“If you’re planning to die in an attack, you are not planning to join an organisation,” New York City public defender David Patton told jurors. “I will admit that there is something strange about discussing the possible explanations for an awful crime that is inexplicable and senseless, but it’s what he’s charged with, and it’s the decision you’re being asked to make.”
The trial also featured firsthand accounts from survivors and victims of the truck attack, as well as their family members.
Friedel Decadt of Belgium described watching the suffering of her sister Ann-Laure, who ultimately died of her injuries.
“Her gaze was lifeless. She just stared up into the air and there was lots of blood gushing out of her mouth,” Ms Decadt said.
Prosecutors say Saipov ploughed a rented Home Depot truck onto Manhattan’s crowded West Side bicycle path on Halloween in 2017, killing eight and injuring numerous others in an Islamic State-inspired plot.
Many of the people killed and injured in the attack were tourists, ranging from a group of men visiting from Argentina to people visiting the city from nearby New Jersey.
The Independent and the nonprofit Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ) have launched a joint campaign calling for an end to the death penalty in the US. The RBIJ has attracted more than 150 well-known signatories to their Business Leaders Declaration Against the Death Penalty – with The Independent as the latest on the list. We join high-profile executives like Ariana Huffington, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson as part of this initiative and are making a pledge to highlight the injustices of the death penalty in our coverage.