NYC bike path terrorist escapes the death penalty due to split jury

The terrorist convicted of killing eight people on a New York City bike path in 2017 was spared the death penalty on Monday after members of a Manhattan federal jury remained deadlock in deciding his fate.

Instead, Sayfullo Saipov, 35, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole – a sentence to be served in Colorado’s Supermax facility, the most secure federal prison in the US.  

The verdict came as jurors failed to come to a unanimous decision after two days of deliberations, following a two-month trial in which they heard emotional testimony from survivors of the attack and relatives of those killed. 

Killing eight people in total, Saipov was found guilty of all 28 counts he had been facing back in January – with jurors over the past month tasked with deciding if should put to death. 

A native of Uzbekistan who had been living in New Jersey at the time of the attack, Saipov rented a 6,000-pound Home Depot truck, drove it into Manhattan and sped down on section of the Hudson River bike path on Halloween day 2017, plowing into bicyclists while sending some riders into the air and crushing others on the ground.

Sayfullo Saipov, the ISIS-inspired terrorist convicted of killing eight people on a New York City bike path in 2017, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

Sayfullo Saipov, the ISIS-inspired terrorist convicted of killing eight people on a New York City bike path in 2017, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

The Uzbekistan native bowed his head in court Monday as jurors told Judge Vernon S. Broderick Monday that they could not agree on whether to impose the death penalty

The Uzbekistan native bowed his head in court Monday as jurors told Judge Vernon S. Broderick Monday that they could not agree on whether to impose the death penalty

Apart from the indiscriminate carnage wrought by the strike, the incident grabbed headlines due to Saipov’s supposed motive – gaining favor with and ultimately joining the terror group ISIS.

Now, nearly six years later, the case has once again entered the public eye – due to Saipov’s federal trial being the since President Joe Biden, a Democrat who campaigned against capital punishment, took office in 2021.

On Monday, jurors in the all-important case – which treated as a federal crime due to Saipov’s terror-ridden intent in carrying out the attack – offered the politician an unintentional gift when they revealed to Judge Vernon Broderick they had not come to a agreement on whether to dish out the increasingly uncommon death penalty. 

Saipov was seen bowing his head in court as jurors aired the decision. Jurors, as instructed, did not reveal how they were split in their votes, leaving the number of those who voted for execution unknown.

The disjoined consensus comes as not particularly surprising, as even one holdout in the case would have resulted in the death penalty being tossed in favor for an automatic life sentence.

Jurors did, however, agree on the fact that Saipov carefully premeditated the attack, and carried it out in support of the terrorist organization.

Jurors also agreed on several mitigating factors while dishing out their verdict, including that many of Saipov’s family members still love him despite what he had done 

Saipov intentionally drove a Home Depot rental pickup truck down a Manhattan bike path in 2017. Prosecutors will ask a jury this week to give him the death penalty

Saipov intentionally drove a Home Depot rental pickup truck down a Manhattan bike path in 2017. Prosecutors will ask a jury this week to give him the death penalty

A New York City police officer stands next to a body covered under a white sheet near a mangled bicycle along a bike path

A New York City police officer stands next to a body covered under a white sheet near a mangled bicycle along a bike path

A paramedic looks at a body covered under a white sheet along a bike path after the rampage

A paramedic looks at a body covered under a white sheet along a bike path after the rampage

Investigators inspect the truck Saipov used to plow down hoards of people in New York City on October 31, 2017

Investigators inspect the truck Saipov used to plow down hoards of people in New York City on October 31, 2017

Emergency personal respond after the Lower Manhattan tragedy on October 31, 2017

Emergency personal respond after the Lower Manhattan tragedy on October 31, 2017

Marion Van Reeth, who lost both of her legs in the West Side Highway terror attack, arrives at Manhattan Federal Court with her husband Aristide Melissas on January 9

Marion Van Reeth, who lost both of her legs in the West Side Highway terror attack, arrives at Manhattan Federal Court with her husband Aristide Melissas on January 9

They also said that they are hopeful that a life sentence offers hope that he would one day realize that what he did was wrong.

The terrorist attack on Halloween day six years ago was the deadliest in New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, and left a scene of mangled bicycles, truck parts and bodies scattered on the pavement near the Hudson river.

During the strike, Saipov rammed a group of 10 men from Argentina, who had been biking in pairs on the bike path. During the trial, proscutors used security footage and witness accounts to show jurors how Saipov hit ‘every single rider on the left side of the column,’ killing five of them’.

Also killed in the initial ramming was New Jersey resident Darren Drake, 32, and Belgian tourist Ann-Laure Decadt, 31. Nicholas Cleves, 23, was the only New Yorker killed. 

After those killing, Saipov went on to target a school bus for disabled children, slamming into it and seriously injuring an attendant and a 14-year-old girl in the process. 

He then left his rented truck and produced a paintball and pellet gun, toting one in each hand and repeatedly shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ – Arabic for ‘God is great.’

The carnage only ended after New York cops descended on the scene and shot Saipov, striking him in the abdomen and sending him to an area hospital. 

While receiving treatment, Saipov allegedly smiled at FBI agents tasked with interviewing him, asking them if he could hang an ISIS flag in his hospital room.

During the penalty phase of the trial, jurors heard from survivors of the attack who testified about their ongoing suffering, and jail officers who described Saipov’s outbursts and threats since his arrest.

The jury's decision came after an emotional trial, in which they heard testimony from survivors of the attack and relatives of the five tourists from Argentina, two Americans and a Belgian women who were killed

 The jury’s decision came after an emotional trial, in which they heard testimony from survivors of the attack and relatives of the five tourists from Argentina, two Americans and a Belgian women who were killed

Saipov repeatedly proclaimed his support for ISIS following the 2017 attack, during which he allegedly plowed through a crowd of people on an NYC bike path

Saipov repeatedly proclaimed his support for ISIS following the 2017 attack, during which he allegedly plowed through a crowd of people on an NYC bike path

‘The defendant is still committed to jihad and ISIS and violence,’ prosecutor Amanda Houle said in her closing argument on March 7.

But Saipov’s defense lawyer, David Patton, argued in his closing argument that the death penalty was ‘not necessary to do justice.’ 

He said Saipov would spend 22 or 23 hours a day alone in a cell with a concrete bed if sentenced to life in prison.

In hearings last month, Saipov’s team sought to strike the government’s decision to seek the death penalty because the Biden administration has imposed a moratorium on federal executions.

Specifically they cited the government’s decision not to seek the death penalty for Patrick Crusius who was found guilty of a 2019 shooting in El Paso, Texas, in which 23 people were killed. The defense argued therefore that Saipov was being discriminated against because of his ethnicity.

‘Given the recent decision to accept Patrick Crusius’s guilty plea to life imprisonment despite his unrepentant and premeditated hate killing of 23 Latinos at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas – Crusius being a white, U.S.-born citizen – the Court should have significant concern that a driving force behind the death notice in this case is Mr. Saipov’s religion and national origin, in violation of the Fifth and Eighth Amendments,’ defense attorney David Patton said. 

‘[After the attack] then-President Trump persistently demanded that Mr. Saipov face the death penalty based on nothing more than an intemperate assessment of his crime and his identity as an Uzbek Muslim immigrant who was a diversity visa lottery winner – an aspect of United States immigration policy that was long the focus of the Trump Administration’s ire,’ the defense added. 

His lawyers had said before that the death penalty process was tainted by Trump, who tweeted a day after the attack that Saipov ‘SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!’ 

Saipov bowed his head last month as he heard the verdict in a Manhattan courtroom, just a few blocks from where the attack ended. 

Prosecutors said the rampage was inspired by his reverence for ISIS.

The dozen jurors deliberated for about seven hours over two days before convicting him of 28 counts of crimes that include murder in aid of racketeering and supporting a foreign terrorist organization. 

Jurors are now due to hear more evidence to help them decide whether he should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison. A federal jury in New York has not rendered a death sentence that withstood legal appeals since 1954. 

His lawyers conceded to the jury that he rented a pickup truck near his New Jersey home, steered it onto the path along the Hudson River, and mowed down bicyclists for blocks before crashing into a school bus near the World Trade Center.

He emerged from his truck yelling ‘God is great,’ in Arabic, with pellet and paintball guns in his hands before he was shot by a police officer who thought they were real firearms.

The vehicle attack killed a woman visiting from Belgium with her family, five friends from Argentina, and two Americans. It left others with permanent injuries, including a woman who lost her legs.

‘His actions were senseless, horrific, and there’s no justification for them,’ Patton told the jury during the trial.

A New York City police officer stands next to a body covered under a white sheet near a mangled bicycle along a bike path

A New York City police officer stands next to a body covered under a white sheet near a mangled bicycle along a bike path

A paramedic looks at a body covered under a white sheet along a bike path after the rampage

A paramedic looks at a body covered under a white sheet along a bike path after the rampage

Five members of this group of Argentinian friends were also killed. They are Hernán Diego Mendoza (far left), Alejandro Damián Pagnucco (second from left), Ariel Erlij (third from left), Diego Enrique Angelini (second from right) and Hernán Ferruchi (third from right)

Five members of this group of Argentinian friends were also killed. They are Hernán Diego Mendoza (far left), Alejandro Damián Pagnucco (second from left), Ariel Erlij (third from left), Diego Enrique Angelini (second from right) and Hernán Ferruchi (third from right)

Darren Drake, 32

Ann -Laure Decadt, 31

New Jersey resident Darren Drake, 32, and Belgian tourist Ann-Laure Decadt, 31, were killed 

Nicholas Cleves, 23, was the only New Yorker killed. His mother could not attend the memorial because she was only told about the service by the mayor's office at 4pm Tuesday

Nicholas Cleves, 23, was the only New Yorker killed. His mother could not attend the memorial because she was only told about the service by the mayor’s office at 4pm Tuesday

The defense asked jurors to acquit Saipov of racketeering charges, saying he intended to die a martyr and was not conspiring with the Islamic State organization, despite voluminous amounts of propaganda from the group found on his electronic devices and at his home.

Saipov did not testify at his trial. Instead he sat quietly each day, unlike at a 2019 pretrial hearing where he insisted on questioning the judge about why he should be judged for eight deaths when ‘thousands and thousands of Muslims are dying all over the world.’

Saipov moved legally to the US from Uzbekistan in 2010 and lived in Ohio and Florida before joining his family in Paterson, New Jersey.

His sentence is set to commence immediately. 

A group pauses, with some in prayer, at a makeshift memorial on a New York City bike path

A group pauses, with some in prayer, at a makeshift memorial on a New York City bike path

source: dailymail.co.uk