Friday, March 31, 2023

Man convicted of killing 8 people in New York attack

what to know

  • The jury has reached a verdict in the federal death penalty case for a 34-year-old man who killed eight people in a Manhattan bike lane five years ago, prosecutors say, influencing a group terrorist. to do.
  • Saifulo Saipov, an Uzbek national living in New Jersey at the time of the 2017 Halloween attack, allegedly drove a Home Depot rental van onto the popular Hudson River Greenway bike path, killing several people.
  • Saipov’s defense attorney, David Patton, did not deny that his client killed eight people and seriously injured others. Patton said that Saipov expected to die a martyr’s death that day.

NEW YORK — Jurors have returned a guilty verdict in the federal death penalty case for a 34-year-old man who killed eight people five years ago in an attempt to influence a terrorist group on a Manhattan bike path.

Saifullo Saipov, an Uzbek citizen living in New Jersey at the time of the 2017 Halloween attack, drove a Home Depot rental van at least 10 blocks along the popular Hudson River Greenway bike path from West Houston to Chambers Streets, carrying about a dozen There were more pedestrians. and the cyclist before crashing into a school bus.

A woman traveling to Belgium with her family, five Argentine friends and two Americans were killed in the vehicle attack. It left others with permanent injuries, including a woman who lost her leg.

Dozens of jurors deliberated for nearly seven hours over two days on 28 counts of crimes including aiding organized crime and murder in support of a foreign terrorist organization before sentencing Saipov on Thursday. Jurors will not return to the court until February 6 to help decide whether he should be hanged or spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Islamic extremist bowed his head as the verdict was announced at the Manhattan courthouse where the attack ended.

The death penalty for Saipov would be an extremely rare commodity in New York. The state no longer enforces the death penalty, and the last state execution took place in 1963. A federal jury in New York has not handed down the death penalty, which has withstood legal appeals over the decades, with the last execution in 1954.

The school bus crash also appeared to be intentional, witnesses said at the time of the deadliest terrorist attack of its kind in New York City since 9/11. In addition to the eight deaths in what officials described as a “cowardly act of terrorism”, nearly a dozen were injured, some of them seriously.

Saipov reportedly showed no remorse. Prosecutors told jurors in closing arguments that later, the day after the attack, he said he was proud of what he had done and smiled when he spoke to the FBI agent.

He got out of his truck with a pellet gun and paintballs in his hands, shouting “God is Great” in Arabic, before a police officer shot him because he thought they were real firearms.

Prosecutors previously said he also asked for the Islamic State group’s flag to hang in his Manhattan hospital room.

Even before the trial, there was no doubt that Saipov was a murderer. Saipov’s defense attorney, David Patton, did not deny that his client killed eight people and seriously wounded others in the attack in the shadow of the World Trade Center.

“It was not an accident. He did it intentionally,” Patton said. “At the end of the day, this kind of senseless act doesn’t make any sense.”

During the trial, Patton told the jury that Saipov’s actions “were senseless, horrible, and there is no justification for them.”

However, the lawyer said that prosecutors were wrong to say that Saipov did it to curry favor with a terrorist group, adding that the brutality showed that he already believed himself to be a member. Patton said that Saipov expected to die a martyr’s death that day.

The defense did not comment outside the court after the verdict.

Nathan David Chacon, 45, is charged with intentionally driving his silver 2007 Chevrolet Silverado into the lobby of a police department.

The defense asked the jury to acquit Saipov of the extortion charges, saying he intended to die a martyr and was not colluding with the Islamic State organization, citing the group’s massive amount of propaganda. Despite the electronic devices and equipment found in his home.

Saipov moved legally from Uzbekistan to the US in 2010 and lived in Ohio and Florida before joining his family in Paterson, New Jersey. He did not testify at his trial, instead sitting quietly each day, in contrast to a 2019 pre-trial hearing where he insisted on asking the judge why he should be tried for eight deaths when “thousands and thousands of Muslims have died”. Have been.” Worldwide. ,

Among those testifying were relatives of several Belgians who had been injured in the attack. Aristide Melissas, a father, said he challenged family members to race their bikes to the World Trade Center, with the loser paying for ice cream. His skull was fractured when Saipov’s truck hit him. He had brain surgery.

His wife, Marion Van Rith, told of waking up in the hospital and finding that his legs had been amputated.

Saipov is the first death penalty case under the Biden administration. Saipov’s lawyers have said that the death penalty process was irreparably tainted by former President Donald Trump, who tweeted the day after the attack that Saipov “should get the death penalty!” – Leading Biden later imposed a stay of execution for federal crimes.

Until Saipov’s trial, Biden’s Justice Department, under the direction of Attorney General Merrick Garland, had not launched any new efforts to obtain the death penalty in a federal case. But Garland has allowed US prosecutors to continue advocating the death penalty in cases assigned from previous administrations.

It’s been a decade since a jury in New York last considered the death penalty.

Federal juries in Brooklyn twice sentenced a man to death for killing NYPD detectives, once in 2007 and again in 2013, but both sentences were overturned on appeal. A judge eventually ruled that the killer had an intellectual disability.

In 2001, weeks before the 9/11 attacks, a federal jury in Manhattan declined to award the death penalty to two men convicted of the deadly bombings of two US embassies in Africa. The men’s attorneys urged the jurors not to martyr the defendants.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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