MANHATTAN (PIX11) — Sayfullo Saipov was found guilty on all counts Thursday in the 2017 Manhattan bike path killings of eight people.
Saipov drove a truck along a Hudson River path on Halloween in 2017. He killed eight and injured about a dozen others.
The dozen jurors deliberated for about seven hours over two days before convicting Saipov. He could now face the death penalty at sentencing. Former President Donald Trump called for the death penalty after Saipov’s arrest.
“NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room,” he tweeted at the time. “He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”
It remains unclear what Saipov might face at sentencing. President Joe Biden pledged to work toward abolishing federal capital punishment and it’s been years since a jury in New York last considered the death penalty. The jury will return to court no earlier than Feb. 6 to hear more evidence to help them decide whether Saipov should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison.
Saipov, an Islamic extremist from Uzbekistan, was charged with 28 federal crimes, including murder in aid of racketeering and supporting a foreign terrorist organization. He shouted Allah Akbar, which is Arabic for “God is great,” after slamming into victims.
Tourists from Argentina and Belgium were among those killed in Saipov’s deadly truck rampage. One of the injured victims lost her legs.
Prosecutors said Saipov attacked civilians to impress the Islamic State group so he could become a member and appeared pleased with his work, smiling when he spoke to an FBI agent afterward.
“His actions were senseless, horrific, and there’s no justification for them,” defense attorney David Patton told the jury during the trial.
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.