Bike Path Killer Gets 10 Life Sentences

Families, victims describe their pain in court
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2023 6:55 PM CDT
Updated May 17, 2023 4:30 PM CDT
Jury Deadlocks on Execution for Killer of Eight on Bike Path
Aristide Melissas, who was injured in the bike path attack, speaks outside Manhattan federal court on Wednesday after making a victim statement.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
UPDATE May 17, 2023 4:30 PM CDT

A judge on Wednesday imposed 10 life sentences, plus 260 years, on the Islamic terrorist who drove a truck onto a Manhattan bike path in 2017, killing eight people and severely injuring 18. In following prosecutors' recommendations, US District Judge Vernon Broderick cited Sayfullo Saipov's lack of remorse. Families of those killed and people who were injured in the attack told the court Wednesday of their pain. Marion Van Reeth, who lost her legs, told the defendant, "I will never be able to walk like you can." When it was his turn to speak in court, Saipov said the tears of the victims were nothing compared to "the tears and blood of the Muslim population," per CNN. Gabriela Pabla Pereya, whose husband, Ariel Erlij, was killed, told Saipov that if he really wants God to love and accept him, "Go kill yourself."

Mar 13, 2023 6:55 PM CDT

A federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty, so the man convicted of driving a truck onto a bike path in New York in 2017, killing eight people, will be sentenced to life in prison. Under the law, the death penalty can be imposed only if the jury decides unanimously, the New York Times reports. The Manhattan jury informed the judge on Monday, its second day of deliberations on the punishment for Sayfullo Saipov, 35, who was convicted of murder in January. Sentencing was not yet scheduled by Judge Vernon Broderick, who told the 12 jurors not to reveal the voting breakdown.

Saipov's attorney argued last week for a sentence of life in prison, per the Washington Post. "It is not necessary to kill [Saipov]. Not for our safety or anyone else’s and not to do justice," David Patton told jurors. "We're asking you to decide that meeting death with more death is not the answer." Prosecutors said premeditation, lack of remorse, and the fact that Saipov carried out the attack along the Hudson River on behalf of the Islamic State, which called him a "soldier of the Caliphate," argued for execution.

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Survivors and family members provided emotional testimony. Ana Evans told the court her youngest daughter touched the TV screen when Hernan Mendoza's photo appeared during news coverage. "That's Daddy," her daughter said. "I'm missing him." The families are dealing with "unbearable pain," Assistant US Attorney Amanda Houle said in her closing statement. "There can be no justice in this case without a close, hard look at the anguish that the defendant chose for these families," she said. (More Sayfullo Saipov stories.)

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