The Dallas Morning News
No death penalty for bike path killer
Man whose rampage left 8 dead instead gets life in prison, no parole
NEW YORK — A split among jurors means there will be no death penalty for an Islamic extremist convicted of maniacally racing a truck along a popular New York City bike path, killing eight people and maiming others.
The decision means Sayfullo Saipov, 35, an Uzbekistan citizen who lived in New Jersey, gets an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the October 2017 attack. Jurors told the judge Monday they were unable to reach the unanimous verdict required for a death sentence.
Jurors and attorneys left the courthouse afterward without speaking to reporters gathered in the rain outside. Before he was escorted out by U.S. marshals, Saipov seemed relaxed and shook the hands of one defense lawyer.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams thanked the families of the dead and the survivors “for their patience and understanding as the legal process played out.”
The verdict was the culmination of a trial that featured emotional testimony from survivors of the attack and relatives of the five tourists from Argentina, two Americans and a Belgian woman who were killed. A formal sentencing date will be set in the future when Saipov can address the court, although his fate is decided.
The same federal jury convicted Saipov in January of 28 charges including murder in aid of racketeering and supporting a terrorist organization.
It returned last month for a penalty phase to decide if he would be sentenced to death or spend the rest of his life at a maximum-security prison in Florence, Colo.
According to verdict paperwork, all 12 jurors agreed that life in prison provides hope that Saipov may one day understand the wrongfulness of his conduct, and seven agreed there were factors in his life, personal traits, character or background or other circumstances that made them favor a life sentence.