A deadlocked jury spared the death penalty from the man convicted of killing eight people in an attack on a New York City bike path in 2017.
The federal jury found Sayfullo Saipov guilty of using a rented truck to run down and kill people on the Manhattan bike path on Halloween night 2017, after he’d pleaded not guilty to a 28-count indictment that included charges of murder and providing material support to ISIS, which the U.S. has labeled a terrorist organization.
“The defendant is still committed to jihad and ISIS and violence,” prosecutor Amanda Houle said in her closing argument last Tuesday.
A unanimous decision had been required under federal law to hand down a death sentence, which prosecutors had sought. As a result of the jury’s deadlock, Saipov will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Public defender David Patton had asserted in his closing argument that the death penalty was “not necessary to do justice.” After the verdict was read, Saipov shook hands with Patton before being led out of the courtroom by officers.
The jurors had agreed that aggravating factors weighed in favor of the death penalty, including that Saipov planned his attack in advance and carried it out to support ISIS. However, they also agreed on other factors, including that a life sentence might give him time to realize what he did was wrong.
Saipov will serve his lifelong punishment at Supermax Prison in Colorado. According to Patton, he’ll spend 22 or 23 hours a day alone in a cell with a concrete bed there.
PHOTO: Saipov’s rented truck on NYC bike path