An Islamic extremist who killed eight people with a speeding truck in 2017 on a popular New York City bike lane was convicted Thursday of federal crimes and could face the death penalty.
Sayfullo Saipov bowed his head as he heard the verdict in a Manhattan court a few blocks from where the attack ended, the AP reported. Prosecutors said the “Halloween riot” was inspired by his reverence for the Islamic State militant group.
The dozen jurors deliberated for about seven hours over two days before sentencing Saipov, 34, on 28 counts of crimes including murder in aid of organized crime and support of a foreign terrorist organization.
Jurors will return to court no earlier than February 6 to hear more evidence to help decide whether he should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison.
A death sentence for Saipov, a citizen of Uzbekistan, would be an extreme rarity in New York. The state no longer applies the death penalty and the last state execution was in 1963.
A federal jury in New York has not handed down a death sentence that has withstood legal appeals in decades, with the last execution in 1954.
His lawyers admitted to the jury that he rented a pickup truck near his New Jersey home, drove it down the road along the Hudson River and plowed over bicyclists for blocks before crashing into a school bus near the World Trade Center.
He got out of his truck yelling “God is great” in Arabic with BB guns and paintballs in his hands before a police officer shot him because he thought they were real firearms.
The vehicle attack killed a woman who was visiting Belgium with her family, five friends from Argentina and two Americans. She left others with permanent injuries, including a woman who lost her legs.
“His actions by him were senseless, horrific and there is no justification for them,” defense attorney David Patton told the jury during the trial.
The defense asked the jury to acquit Saipov of the extortion charges, saying he intended to die a martyrdom and was not colluding with the Islamic State organization, despite voluminous amounts of the group’s propaganda found on his electronic devices. and in his house.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.