By Lauren del Valle and Travis Caldwell, CNN
Deliberations will resume Thursday morning regarding the sentencing of a man convicted of beating and killing eight people with a rented truck in New York in 2017 in an effort to support the ISIS terrorist group.
Sayfullo Saipov, a native of Uzbekistan living in the US, faces the death penalty as a jury weighs arguments presented by prosecutors and defense attorneys in Manhattan federal court following his conviction in January.
Closing arguments during this sanctioning phase of the court proceedings concluded Tuesday, with a prosecutor from the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York calling Saipov a “proud terrorist” who planned to kill as many people as he could.
“When ISIS called him to fight abroad or attack here, he chose here, this city,” prosecutor Amanda Houle said. “The defendant spent years cultivating the hatred that was the basis of his attack.”
Defense attorney David Patton asked the jury Tuesday to spare Saipov’s life on moral grounds, adding that Saipov’s death “is not necessary to do justice.”
Two Americans and six international tourists were killed in the 2017 Halloween attack, the deadliest terror attack in New York City since 9/11. At least a dozen people were injured.
Saipov drove a rented U-Haul truck into cyclists and pedestrians on Manhattan’s West Side bike path and then crashed the vehicle into a school bus, authorities said. After getting out of the truck while he was brandishing a pellet gun and a paintball gun, an officer with the New York Police Department fired at him and took him into custody, authorities said.
Saipov was convicted of multiple chargesincluding charges of murder in aid of organized crime activities, assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder in aid of organized crime activities, provision of material support to ISIS, and violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.
the 12 jurors must reach a unanimous decision in favor of the death penalty for the penalty to be applied, otherwise he will receive a life sentence. Four substitute jurors will remain in another area of the courthouse and may be called if necessary.
Deliberations will resume at 10 am Thursday.
counting Testimony at the trial of the surviving members of the attack as well as the families of the victims, Houle told jurors Tuesday that “there can be no justice in this case without a careful look at the anguish the defendant has chosen for these families.”
Saipov has not regretted his arrest, the prosecutor said, recalling that prison guards testified at trial that they heard Saipov “scream about cutting off heads” in his cell.
Houle asked the jury to hold Saipov accountable by sentencing him to death.
“He chose to do all of this to support a vile terrorist organization that hates Americans and seeks to kill them,” he said.
“He chose to attack a protected bike lane on Halloween afternoon in the heart of the city full of innocent people and surrounded by children. And he celebrates and defends those choices without any remorse, which shows you his depravity and the danger he represents. He chose to raise the stakes of justice. That depends on him.
Defense attorney Patton, who offered no excuses for Saipov’s behavior during the court proceedings, told the jury that Saipov’s life should be spared on moral grounds.
“It is not necessary to kill Sayfullo Saipov. It is not necessary to keep us safe. There is no need to do justice,” Patton said.
“With your verdict last month, you guaranteed that you will spend the rest of your life in prison and not just any prison, you will be sent to one of the most isolated, lonely and locked up places on the face of the planet,” he said. he told jurors. “But now you are faced with a very different and truly extraordinary decision: whether another human being should live or die. It is a unique and individualized moral decision.”
Patton also noted that Saipov’s family members hoped he would not be sentenced to death, in part because he is the father of three children. Several family members traveled from Uzbekistan to testify in Saipov’s defense, including emotional testimony from Saipov’s father, who at one point tried to apologize in court for his son’s actions.
Saipov came to the US from Uzbekistan in 2010 and was live in new jersey before the attack. He became a lawful permanent resident, lived with his wife and his three children and drove for Uber, according to authorities.
The CNN Wire
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