A jury will start deliberating on Monday whether to sentence an Islamic terrorist who killed eight people on a New York City bike path to death, an extremely unusual punishment in a state without an execution in 60 years.
Sayfullo Saipov, 35, was found guilty last month in connection with the 2017 attack in which he purposefully drove a truck at a high rate of speed along a route alongside the Hudson River, killing bicyclists on a bright morning just before the city’s Halloween celebrations.
In the trial’s sentencing phase, the jury that found Saipov guilty will reconvene and hear more testimony.
If there isn’t a unanimous decision to execute Saipov, he will live out the remainder of his days behind bars.
The goal of Sai pov’s defense team is to persuade the jury that a life sentence is enough retribution for the attack that claimed the lives of two Americans, a woman from Belgium, and five friends from Argentina.
Saipov’s trial is in federal court, where a death sentence is still an option, albeit it is rarely successfully pursued.
A federal court does not have the death penalty, and has not been executed since 1963. In New York, a person was last put to death for a federal felony in 1954.
After assuming office, President Joe Biden imposed a moratorium on federal executions, and up until this point, his Justice Department has not begun any new death penalty cases.
Saipov’s attorneys contend it is unlawful for the government to continue seeking death in so many other cases, including some involving criminals who killed more people, while continuing to seek Saipov’s execution.
In a recent court filing, they stated, “There is no rhyme, reason, or predictability as to why the government decides to pursue the death penalty in some murder cases but not others.
They pointed out that the previous president, Donald Trump, promptly called for Saipov to receive the death penalty, tweeting a day after the incident, “SHOULD GET DEATH PUNISHMENT!
The attorneys claimed that it was a means through which Trump was advancing “his anti-immigrant agenda.”
They added, “There is a valid worry that the death penalty occasionally (and illegally) depends on the defendant’s color, ethnicity, national origin, and religious views.
Death was not sought even in more deadly attacks, such as the 2019 racist attack at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which left 23 people dead, according to the attorneys.
However, separate state capital murder charges in Texas could potentially result in the Walmart shooter being put to death.
The attorneys claimed that it appeared arbitrary for the US. Even though their guilt is probably more significant, the Justice Department should “spare some defendants but single out Mr. Saipov, a Muslim immigrant, for the death penalty.”
Authorities anticipate concentrating on Saipov’s victims. During the first phase of his trial, the jury heard testimonies from survivors who detailed the terror, anguish, and ongoing pain they endured due to their injuries. more of that style.
Saipov, on the other hand, hasn’t changed since he was shot for coming out of his truck and pointing paintball and pellet weapons at a police officer.
Later, while lying in a hospital bed, the Uzbek national grinned as he demanded that the Islamic State flag that served as the basis for his rampage be hung on the wall of his room, according to the prosecution.
The prosecution plans to present evidence to convince the jury that Saipov might still be able to contact supporters if kept alive.
In one pre-trial document, it was stated that a Federal Bureau of Prisons officer was prepared to testify that Saipov asked a guard to provide a package of chocolates to another prisoner last year, even though tight guidelines bound him to avoid contact with others.
Years of appeals would probably follow any verdict of death by a jury.
In New York, a guy who killed two police officers in 2003 was the subject of the last federal death penalty trial. In 2007 and 2013, federal juries in Brooklyn twice handed down death sentences, but the verdict was reversed on appeal each time.