The sole surviving pirate from an attack on an American cargo ship off the Somali coast will be tried as an adult after he was portrayed today as the brazen ringleader of a band of pirates who shot at the ship's captain and bragged about prior acts of piracy. The bravado that authorities say Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse displayed as the first pirate to board the Maersk Alabama had evaporated by the time he entered a federal courtroom to face a piracy charge that carries a mandatory life prison sentence.
At one point, Muse sobbed as his lawyers notified the court that they had spoken to his family in Somalia. He lost his first court battle when his court-appointed public defenders failed to convince a judge that he was 15 and could be processed through the courts in secrecy as a juvenile. Muse is apparently 18, though his father and the suspect himself have given ages ranging from 15 to 26 since his arrest.