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Office of Public Affairs | Judge Imposes Eight Consecutive Life Sentences Plus 260 Years in Prison for ISIS-Inspired 2017 Murder of Eight Victims and Attempted Murder of 18 Others in NYC Truck Attack

Human RightsOffice of Public Affairs | Judge Imposes Eight Consecutive Life Sentences Plus 260 Years in Prison for ISIS-Inspired 2017 Murder of Eight Victims and Attempted Murder of 18 Others...

Sayfullo Saipov, 34, of Uzbekistan, was sentenced to eight consecutive life sentences, two concurrent life sentences, and a consecutive sentence of 260 years in prison for carrying out a terrorist attack on Oct. 31, 2017, in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), in which Saipov used a truck to murder eight victims and injure many more on a bike path in lower Manhattan.

On Jan. 26, a jury convicted Saipov of all 28 counts in the indictment, which charged Saipov with murder for the purpose of gaining entrance to a racketeering enterprise (ISIS); assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder for the purpose of gaining entrance to a racketeering enterprise (ISIS); providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS) resulting in death; and damage and destruction to a motor vehicle resulting in death. On March 13, 2023, the same jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether Saipov should be sentenced to death, resulting in a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

“Today’s sentence means that Sayfullo Saipov will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for brutally murdering eight innocent victims during his carefully calculated ISIS terrorist attack,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Department of Justice honors the victims, their families, and the survivors of this horrific attack. We will continue to vigorously defend the American people from threats of terrorism and will work tirelessly to bring those who perpetrate terrorist attacks to justice.”

“Although it has been more than five years since Sayfullo Saipov carried out this horrific, senseless attack in the name of ISIS, the FBI never relented in our pursuit of justice for the victims and their loved ones,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “This case demonstrates the FBI’s steadfast commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who commit acts of violence inspired by terrorist groups.”

“In March 2023, a jury determined that Sayfullo Saipov would spend the rest of his life in prison for his heinous crimes. Today, the court issued the maximum possible penalty on each count of conviction and ordered that eight of Saipov’s life sentences along with 260 years in prison will run consecutively to the other sentences imposed,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “These eight life sentences account for the eight lives Saipov stole when he committed his vicious ISIS attack. The 260 years in prison constitutes the maximum penalty for the 18 attempted murders Saipov cruelly committed, which included the attempted murders of four children. More than just holding Saipov accountable for his depraved crimes, the proceedings today gave further voice to the victims. More than 20 victims and family members addressed the Court and confronted Saipov. They bravely and boldly shared their pain and devastation. While we cannot make these victims whole after what Saipov stole from them, this office along with our partners in the Department of Justice and the FBI are proud to have served the victims and sought justice on their behalf.”

As set forth in public documents in the case and statements made during court proceedings:

On Halloween afternoon in 2017, Saipov used a 6,000-pound truck to strike more than 20 innocent people on the Hudson River Bike Path in lower Manhattan. Saipov killed eight of his victims and critically injured many others, including a 14-year-old child. Saipov’s surviving victims suffered amputations, serious brain injuries, life-altering physical injuries, and significant psychological trauma. Saipov committed his attack after years of devotion to the brutal terrorist organization ISIS and after months of careful planning. In the weeks before his attack, for example, Saipov rented a truck to practice maneuvering it so that he could hit as many people as possible. Saipov brought a note to the attack with the ISIS flag and rallying cry written on it. After his attack, while in custody at a hospital, Saipov told the FBI that he committed the attack in response to calls from the leader of ISIS and that he was proud of what he had done. Saipov smiled when describing his attack and sought to hang the ISIS flag in his hospital room.

After the attack, ISIS praised Saipov as an Islamic State soldier and called his attack one of the most prominent attacks in the United States. In the years since his attack, Saipov continued to demonstrate his devotion to ISIS, including though statements in court, recorded telephone calls, and writings seized from his prison cell. In prison, Saipov also made statements confirming his continued belief that enemies of ISIS should be eliminated and threatening to cut the heads off of corrections officers. At the liability and sentencing phases of trial, many of Saipov’s victims and their family members bravely described the terror he caused and the pain and suffering they continue to endure.

While the jury determined that Saipov would be sentenced to life in prison on six counts of conviction, Judge Broderick sentenced Saipov to the statutory maximum penalty on each count of conviction and ordered that Saipov’s sentences on the counts of conviction charging him with murder and attempted murder of particular victims would run consecutively to all other sentences imposed. In total, Saipov was sentenced to eight consecutive life sentences, 260 years in prison to run consecutively, and two additional life sentences to run concurrently to each other and to all other sentences imposed. The judge will issue an order concerning restitution to victims at a later date.

More than 20 victims and family members delivered emotional and powerful victim impact statements at Saipov’s sentencing.

The FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the New York City Police Department, and over 50 other federal, state, and local agencies investigated the case. The Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations; the Justice Department’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section and Organized Crime and Gang Section provided valuable assistance, as did the Justice Department’s Office of Enforcement Operations and Office of International Affairs.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda L. Houle, Jason A. Richman, Alexander Li, and Andrew Dember for the Southern District of New York, with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Daniel Sitko, and Trial Attorney John Cella of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Trial Attorney Michael Warbel of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section prosecuted the case.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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