Life Sentence of a Bike-Path K!ller Draws Reaction from V!ctims

Sayfullo Saipov, the terrorist who k!lled eight people, including six visitors from other countries, on a West Side bike path in 2017, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday by a jury in Manhattan.

About 20 victims, family members, and others spoke out against Mr. Saipov in court before Judge Vernon S. Broderick imposed the punishment. They expressed their outrage, anguish, and even forgiveness in some circumstances.

Many of the 12 jurors who deliberated for two months on whether Mr. Saipov, 35, deserved the de@th penalty or life in prison were among the audience at the daylong hearing. Mr. Saipov was given a mandatory life sentence because the jury could not agree on a verdict.

After the hearing, the jury foreman, 69-year-old New Yorker J.P. Patrick, disclosed that the jury was initially divided, with eight members backing the de@th penalty and four members choosing life in prison. In the end, he said, the jury couldn’t decide whether or not to impose a life sentence (7-5).

Bike-Path Killer Is Sentenced to Life (1)
Bike-Path Killer Is Sentenced to Life (1)

In his closing statement, Mr. Patrick said the jury went home “believing we had done our job soberly, intelligently, and with compassion.” During his trial, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, had boasted about his actions and att@cked in order to join the Islamic State.

In court on Wednesday, one of the prosecutors, Amanda Houle, said that Mr. Saipov “delights in the suffering he has caused these victims.” Based on the information presented, the defendant “would do this again if he could,” Ms. Houle said.

Mr. Saipov also spoke before the court through an Uzbek interpreter. He showed no remorse as he ranted for nearly an hour on what he claimed was the worldwide persecution of Muslims. Mr. Saipov added that if a Muslim m*rder “one unbeliever anywhere,” the incident will be discussed “for months and months,” but that “about innocent Muslims dying” is hardly spoken.

Judge Broderick gave Mr. Saipov eight life sentences in a row, one for each victim, in addition to additional punishments totaling 260 years. “The conduct in this case is among the worst, if not the worst, I have ever seen,” Judge Broderick stated, “both in terms of the impact it had on these victims and the sheer unrepentant nature of the defendant.”

Mr. Saipov, sitting alongside his lawyers, showed little emotion as the v!ctims testified. Now and then he would glance toward the ceiling, where the speakers were located. Belgian victim Marion Van Reeth said to the att@cker, “Mr. Saipov, I am one of your victims.” Van Reeth lost both legs and her legs were amputated, and she suffered a spinal cord d@mage and fractured ribs in the attack.

I’ll never be as graceful as you when I walk. The life I had was wonderful. I was an avid walker. More than five years after his “cruel act” against innocent people, she wanted to know if Mr. Saipov still believed that it was the correct thing to do. Did he still take pride in his actions as a “soldier” of ISIS?

Don’t settle for tired ideas. The state of California has lately experienced the following:

I really hope not,” she continued. Wife of one of the five Argentine bicyclists slain, Maria Alejandra Sosa, told Mr. Saipov that he was “worthless” and “pitiful,” and that she looked forward to the day he perished in prison. Her husband, Alejandro Pagnucco, was one of the victims.

Nicholas Cleves, whose mother Monica Missio was also slain, would have seen Mr. Saipov’s truck coming at full speed and understood he was going to die, according to Missio. Ms. Missio remarked, “He must have been terrified,” and added, “I’m haunted by the horror of it.”

President Biden, who ran on a platform opposing the de@th penalty, presided over the first federal de@th penalty trial of his administration. Prosecutors had argued for Mr. Saipov’s de@th on the grounds that he had planned the attack with premeditation, that he lacked remorse, and that he openly wanted to advance the ideological goals of ISIS.

You may verify the story by looking at the tweet that is provided below:

Using a rented 6,000-pound vehicle from Home Depot, Mr. Saipov mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a warm Halloween day, crushing some and sending others soaring into the air. On their bicycles, ten Argentine friends were riding in pairs when he crashed into them, m*rdering “every single rider on the left side of the column,” as one of the prosecutors, Alexander Li, put it in court.

There were eight people k!lled in the incident, including the five Argentine cyclists and a Belgian woman named Ann-Laure Decadt. Mr. Cleves and a New Jersey financial worker named Darren Drake, 32, were the other two people killed.

The last victim to testify was Rachel Pharn, who was struck by Mr. Saipov’s truck and suffered a broken foot, ankle, and left shoulder. To Mr. Saipov, she spoke. Ms. Pharn asked him, “How did you get to be the way you are? How did you get to where you are? How can I fix you so I can figure out how to fix the world?”

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