A terrorist convicted of striking and killing eight people with a rented truck on a New York City bike path in an attack for ISIS is scheduled to be sentenced to serve life in prison Wednesday.
Sayfullo Saipov effectively learned his sentence in March, when the jury in the penalty phase of his trial in Manhattan federal court told a judge it was unable to reach an undivided decision favoring the death penalty on any of the nine capital counts against him.
The capital counts each carry a mandatory life imprisonment sentence by law after the jury didn’t unanimously vote for the death penalty.
Saipov’s case was the first death penalty case under the Biden administration.
About 25 surviving victims and family members of those killed in the attack are expected to give victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing Wednesday morning, according to court filings.
Of the eight people killed in the attack, five were from Argentina, two were Americans, and one was from Belgium. The majority of those participating in the Manhattan federal court hearing are traveling from Argentina and Belgium, the prosecutors said in a memo.
The convicted terrorist will have an opportunity to address the court before he is sentenced, but it is unclear if he will do so.
On Halloween in 2017, Saipov drove a rented U-Haul truck into cyclists and pedestrians on Manhattan’s West Side bike path, then crashed the vehicle into a school bus, authorities said.
After leaving the truck while brandishing a pellet gun and paintball gun, he was shot by a New York City Police Department officer and taken into custody, officials said.
The jury convicted Saipov in January of all 28 counts against him for the fatal attack.
Those counts included murder in aid of racketeering activity, assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity, attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity, provision of material support to ISIS, and violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.
Saipov is expected to serve his life sentence at the Federal Bureau of Prisons ADX facility in Florence, Colorado, in solitary confinement at least 22 hours a day, his attorneys said during trial.
Federal prosecutors who say Saipov deserves no leniency want District Judge Vernon Broderick to sentence Saipov to the fullest extent of the sentencing guidelines for his 28-count conviction; eight consecutive life sentences, a consecutive term of 260 years’ imprisonment and two concurrent life sentences.
“Because Saipov deliberately committed the most abhorrent crime imaginable for which he has expressed no remorse, he deserves no leniency. Only the maximum punishment on each count of conviction will reflect the unimaginable harm inflicted and send the appropriate message that terrorist attacks on innocent civilians will be punished as harshly as the law allows,” prosecutors said in a pre-sentencing court filing.
The harshest sentence, prosecutors wrote, would be “an exercise of such discretion to hold the defendant fully accountable for his crimes, and to send the appropriate message to the defendant, the public, and any others who might contemplate an attack on U.S. soil.”