The jury told the federal judge they could not reach an agreement on whether Saifullo Saipov should live or die in relation to the October 2017 attack. New York no longer has the death penalty for state crimes, and the last time a prisoner was executed was in 1963. That decision can only be made in federal court. Saipov, 35, was convicted in January of killing five Argentinian tourists, two Americans and a Belgian in an attack. He has sworn allegiance to the “Islamic State” (the group is banned in the Russian Federation). In February, the jury returned to sentencing to decide whether he should be sentenced to death or spend the rest of his life in a maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado. He is from Central Asia, lived in New Jersey.
A unanimous verdict is required for a death sentence. The jury split means Saipova was automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, reports the Guardian. It was the first such federal terrorism trial since Joe Biden became president and featured moving testimony from survivors of attacks and relatives of those killed.
p class=””>Inspired by ISIS propaganda, Saipov drove his truck along a busy road that hugs the west side of Manhattan near the Hudson River and is popular with cyclists, joggers and other outdoor enthusiasts air. The track is separated from traffic on the busy multi-lane road next to it, but Saipov steered a truck he rented in New Jersey out of the way onto the pedestrian and bike lane, traveling more than a mile and a half and hitting cyclists before ends up crashing into the school bus and fleeing the car. A police officer present at the scene arrested the assailant by shooting him in the stomach.
Then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in 2017 that the incident was considered a “particularly cowardly act of terrorism”. Saipov’s responsibility for the murders has never been in doubt. His lawyers admitted he did the act in an effort to become a martyr and planned to continue the journey to the Brooklyn Bridge in an attempt to kill as many people as possible. Prosecutors say he smiled when he asked for a jihadist flag to be hung on the wall of his hospital room after the shooting. Saipov showed no remorse during the trial and defense attorney David Patton asked for a life sentence, saying his client will “die in prison in darkness, not a martyr or a hero for whom whether it be”.
Donald Trump, as President of the United States, has called for Saipov’s execution. Joe Biden pledged to work toward abolition of the federal death penalty during his campaign, and it hasn’t been done since he took office.
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