Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek immigrant who carried out a truck attack on a lower Manhattan bike path in 2017, killing eight, will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison after a jury was divided on whether he should be the first killer in decades put to death in the state, Courthouse News Service reports. A death sentence in federal trials requires unanimity from 12 jurors; otherwise the sentence is life in prison. Ten hours into deliberations, the jury told U.S. District Judge Vernon Broderick that they were deadlocked. Broderick will formally impose the automatic sentence of life in prison. Saipov, who has been imprisoned at federal detention centers in Brooklyn and Manhattan for over five years, will spend the remainder of his life in the most restricted unit at ADX Florence, a super-maximum-security prison near Florence, Co., the facility so secure and so remote it known as the "Alcatraz of the Rockies." The jury's verdict form indicated division on the prosecution's argument that Saipov was "likely to commit criminal acts of violence in prison in the future."
Five jurors disagreed, but seven jurors backed a mitigating factor from the defense that certain aspects in Saipov's "life, personal traits, character, or background" suggest that life imprisonment without the possibility of release is the appropriate punishment. All 12 jurors sat on the same panel that convicted Saipov, 35, last month. Nine of the counts were eligible for the death penalty: eight for murder, and one for destruction of a motor vehicle. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams thanked jurors for their careful consideration of the evidence and the law in the lengthy death penalty trial. "Saipov’s crimes were predicated on ISIS’s commitment to murder innocent civilians and its disdain for rule of law," he said. "But, in the end, Saipov’s actions have highlighted one of the pillars of the rule of law in this country: the right to a full and fair public trial before a jury drawn from the community." Saipov was born in Uzbekistan and immigrated to the U.S. in 2010. He worked for years as a long-haul trucker in Ohio and Florida, when he is said to have been exposed to radical Islamic extremist propaganda. In the year of the attack, Saipov was living in Paterson, N.J., earning money driving for Uber.