The Islamic extremist who drove a truck into a New York City bike lane, killing eight people, has been spared the death penalty after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision.
The same jury that convicted Sayfullo Saipov of the attack was deadlocked on his punishment, with a unanimous decision required to impose a death penalty. The Uzbekistan native will spend the rest of his life in prison at the supermax facility in Colorado, one of the United States' most secure facilities, without the chance for parole.
Saipov planned the attack for a year, the court heard during trial, choosing Halloween (31 October 2017) in the hope more people would be out and drove a rented van onto the busy West Side Highway cycle path in Lower Manhattan, part of the Hudson River Greenway, just after 3pm, killing eight people and injuring 12, the city's deadliest terror attack since 9/11.
The path is segregated from traffic, running alongside a busy multi-lane route, and Saipov drove the truck onto the path in an attack branded a "particularly cowardly act of terror" by then-mayor Bill de Blaiso.
The 34-year-old's lawyer David Patton told the court his client "murdered eight people" and believed it was his religious obligation to carry out the attack. He did not think he would survive, expecting to become a martyr, something the lawyer raised in court, arguing that imposing a death sentence would only serve to bestow the martyrdom Saipov had sought.
He drove along the cycle path at speed in a van he had rented from a branch of Home Depot in New Jersey, crashing into people on bike and on foot, with two American nationals, five tourists from Argentina and one from Belgium, who had been riding a hire bike on a holiday with her mother and sisters, killed.
A further eight people were injured, including another Belgian, Marion Van Reeth, who was riding rented bikes with her husband and children, and who had her legs amputated as a result of the injuries she sustained in the attack.
Saipov emerged from the vehicle shouting 'God is great' in Arabic and asked to hang an Islamic State flag above his hospital bed after he was shot by police at the scene.
"He turned a bike path into his battlefield," said prosecutor Jason Richman. "He was happy about the terrorist attack he unleashed."
In the aftermath, then-President Donald trump called for the accused's execution, reinstating federal executions after a 17-year moratorium in 2020, something President Joe Biden has since halted.
Last autumn the Justice Department announced it would seek the death penalty in this case, something a jury remained undecided on.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.