Sayfullo Saipov was given eight consecutive life sentences in the US as part of his sentence for a fatal attack in 2017.
The man responsible for killing eight people with a truck on a Manhattan bike path in 2017 has been given eight consecutive life sentences, two concurrent life sentences and another 260 years in prison for the attack that also seriously injured 18 others.
“The conduct in this case is some of the worst, if not the worst, I have ever seen,” US District Judge Vernon S Broderick said Wednesday.
The judge cited the unrepentant nature of defendant Sayfullo Saipov, who, when given a chance to speak, said the tears of victims and family members in the courtroom were small compared to the blood and tears shed by those in the Islamic faith suffered.
Saipov’s sentence comes after a jury in March rejected the death penalty for the Uzbekistan national and one-time New Jersey resident, leaving him with a mandatory life sentence for the Oct. 31, 2017, massacre of tourists and New Yorkers.
Relatives of eight people killed in the attack spoke tearfully during the sentencing, describing their lingering pain and at times directly addressing the man convicted in the death.
Frank Decadt, father of the victim Ann-Laure Decadt, told Saipov that he hoped that “one day you will understand the extent of the horror you have inflicted on so many people”.
Marion Van Reeth, who lost her legs in the attack, sat in front of Saipov in her wheelchair and told him: “I will never be able to walk like you can.”
As Saipov hung his head and lowered his eyes as he listened to a translation of the proceedings through headphones, Van Reeth said: “I have a question for you. After all this time in prison, are you still convinced that your criminal acts against innocent people were the right thing to do?”
Like others, she expressed hope that one day Saipov will see that his act was wrong.
Monica Missio, whose son Nicholas Cleves was killed, told Saipov his death “completely destroyed my life”.
Prosecutors urged Broderick to impose a sentence of eight consecutive life sentences — one for each death — and an additional 260 years in prison, according to a pre-sentence filing.
“Saipov is an unabashed terrorist – a proud murderer who deserves no leniency and must be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” prosecutors wrote.
The judge followed the prosecutor’s recommendation and imposed eight consecutive life sentences and two to run concurrently, although the practical effect of a single life sentence is the same as there is no parole.
Saipov, 35, left a path of destruction behind him with his attack.
Five tourists from Argentina, two Americans and a Belgian woman were killed, and 18 others were seriously injured.
Saipov was shot by a police officer and immediately arrested after he got out of his truck and shouted “God is great” in Arabic and waved paintball and pellet guns in the air.
Prosecutors said he smiled when he asked Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who were questioning him in a hospital room if they could hang an ISIL (ISIS) group flag on the walls.
During his trial, his family members called for a life sentence and said they hoped he would realize what he had done and express remorse. They said they wanted him to return to the passive person they remembered him as before he became obsessed with online propaganda posted by ISIL (ISIS).
Saipov, a former long-haul truck driver, moved to the U.S. legally from Uzbekistan in 2010 and lived in Ohio and Florida before joining his family in Paterson, New Jersey.
His lawyer, David Patton, told jurors that his actions were “senseless, horrific, and there is no justification for it”.
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