An immigrant from Uzbekistan was found guilty of a terrorist attack: he faces life imprisonment or the death penalty
A federal jury found an immigrant from Uzbekistan, Saifullo Saipov, guilty of a terrorist attack and the murder of 8 people whom he ran over with a truck in New York on October 31, 2017, reports CNN.
The jury deliberated for about six hours over two days in the case of the deadliest terrorist attack New York has seen since 11/XNUMX. Then six foreign tourists and two Americans were killed.
The jury will also determine whether Saipov will be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty. A unanimous decision is required for a death sentence. The sentencing phase of the trial is scheduled to begin on 6 February.
The jury trial in this case began on January 25. Saipov pleaded not guilty.
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On January 26, he was found guilty on charges of murder, aiding terrorism, attempted murder, providing material support to the ISIS terrorist organization, assault, and destroying a vehicle.
Defense vs Prosecution
In closing arguments, defense counsel David Patton did not dispute the facts of the attack and murders. But the defense disputed the prosecution's assertion that Saipov carried out the attack in order to later join ISIS. Patton claimed that religious zeal prompted the defendant's attack. He wanted to please his God and "ascend to paradise." The lawyer noted that the man did not plan to stay alive after the attack.
Prosecutors told jurors that Saipov committed the attack in order to become a member of a terrorist group.
“The people that ISIS relies on to conquer territory and kill infidels are its soldiers. Of course they are part of ISIS. It's just common sense," prosecutor Amanda Lee Hole said. “An organization waging a world war needs soldiers. And its soldiers are obviously part of the group.”
Act of terrorism
On October 31, 2017, Saipov drove a rented U-Haul truck into cyclists and pedestrians on a bike path on the West Side of Manhattan. He then crashed into a school bus and left the truck brandishing a pistol and a paintball gun. He was shot by an NYPD officer and taken into custody.
Of the eight people killed in the attack, five were from Argentina, two were Americans and one was Belgian.
The Argentines were part of a group celebrating the 30th anniversary of high school graduation in New York. The Argentine Foreign Ministry said they were Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Ariel Erlidj and Hernan Ferrucci.
Nicholas Cleves, 23, from New York, and Darren Drake, 32, from New Milford, were the two Americans killed.
Anne-Laure Decadt, a 31-year-old Belgian, was also among those killed. The mother of two young sons was on an excursion in New York with her sisters and mother.
According to investigators, Saipov told them that he had been planning the attack for about a year. He was inspired by ISIS videos. Saipov became radicalized by viewing extremist materials during long solo trips while working as a truck driver.
Saipov moved to the US after winning a green card
He was raised as a Muslim in Uzbekistan, but was not exposed to any significant amount of religious instruction. And his family members are not ISIS supporters.
Saipov came to the US from Uzbekistan in 2010 and lived in New Jersey before the attack. He lived with his wife and three children and worked as an Uber driver.
The man moved to the US after winning a green card.