A federal jury found Sayfullo Saipov guilty of murder for running down eight individuals on a bike path in New York City on Halloween in 2017. The incident occurred in 2017.
In the case involving the biggest terrorist attack New York had seen since 9/11, which left six foreign tourists and two Americans dead, jurors deliberated for nearly six hours over the course of two days.
Whether Saipov receives the death penalty or a life sentence will be decided by the same jury. The death penalty cannot be enacted without a unanimous majority. The trial’s penalty phase is set to start on February 6.
President Joe Biden’s administration, who had opposed the government’s use of the death penalty throughout his campaign, saw the first federal death sentence case go to trial during this time.
Judge Vernon Broderick gave the jury instructions before jury deliberations started on Wednesday afternoon.
Saipov has entered a not-guilty plea.
In the Southern District of New York, he was found guilty on Thursday of charges including murder in furtherance of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder in furtherance of racketeering, attempted murder in furtherance of racketeering, giving material support to ISIS, and violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.
Defense attorney David Patton’s final remarks did not challenge the veracity of the alleged attack Saipov committed. The prosecution’s assertion that Saipov was driven to carry out the act in order to join ISIS, however, was refuted by the defense. In order to honor his God and “ascend to paradise” in his religion, Patton said that the attack was motivated by religious passion.
Jurors were informed by the prosecution that Saipov committed the crime in order to join the terrorist organization.
“Those are the warriors that ISIS uses to seize territory and murder non-believers. They naturally belong to ISIS. Common sense, according to prosecutor Amanda Leigh Houle. “A group fighting a battle on a global scale needs its soldiers, and those soldiers are a member of the group.”
The accusations are related to the 2017 incident in which Saipov plowed a U-Haul truck into pedestrians and cyclists on Manhattan’s West Side bike path. According to authorities, he then fled the truck while brandishing a paintball and pellet gun after crashing the vehicle into a school bus. According to officials, he was shot by an NYPD officer and taken into custody.
According to a criminal complaint, investigators said Saipov told them he spent approximately a year planning the assault and was motivated by ISIS films.
Saipov’s attorney claimed that during extended solitary shifts as a long-haul truck driver, Saipov was indoctrinated by the extremist content he was absorbing.
Although he was raised in Uzbekistan where the culture is predominantly Muslim, Patton claimed that neither he nor his family members are followers of ISIS.
Saipov, who had immigrated to the country from Uzbekistan in 2010, was residing in New Jersey at the time of the assault. He drove for Uber, according to officials, and lived with his wife and three kids.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, Saipov entered the US on a diversity immigrant visa, which enables citizens of nations with little recent immigration to apply for both a visa and a green card. He then acquired permanent residency status, according to officials.
Five of the eight victims of the incident were from Argentina, two were Americans, and one was from Belgium, according to authorities.
The Argentinians were a member of a group who visited New York City to commemorate their high school graduation 30 years earlier.
Their names were Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij, and Hernán Ferruchi, according to the foreign affairs ministry of Argentina.
The two Americans killed were Darren Drake, 32, of New Milford, New Jersey, and Nicholas Cleves, 23, of New York.
In addition to those deceased, Ann-Laure Decadt, a 31-year-old Belgian lady, was also mentioned in a statement from her husband, Alexander Naessens. After the incident, Naessens revealed that Decadt, a mother of two small sons, was visiting New York along with her mother, two sisters, and grandmother.