Federal Prosecutors in New York Seeking Death Penalty for Terror Attack Suspect

Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the New York City truck attack is seen in St. Charles County Department of Corrections, Missouri, U.S., photo released on November 1, 2017.
St. Charles County Department of Corrections/Handout via Reuters

Federal prosecutors in New York are seeking the death penalty for Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the New York City terror attack that killed eight people — a rare punishment that hasn’t been carried out in the state for a federal crime since 1953.

Saipov, 30, allegedly used a Home Depot rental truck to carry out an attack on a bike path along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, mowing down pedestrians and cyclist in his path on Oct. 31.

In order to justify a death sentence, prosecutors will have to prove that Saipov “intentionally” killed the eight victims and “intentionally” inflicted serious bodily injury, according to the notice of intent to seek the death penalty, filed in the Southern District of New York.

Both of those counts carry a possibly death sentence, according to the court document.

Weeks after the attack, a federal grand jury slapped Saipov with a 22-count indictment that included eight charges of murder in aid of racketeering, typically used by federal prosecutors in organized crime cases, and a charge of violence and destruction of motor vehicles.

The attack required “substantial planning and premeditation,” prosecutors said, describing the manner in which Saipov carried it out as “heinous, cruel and depraved.”

“Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov caused injury, harm, and loss to the families and friends of Diego Enrique Angelini, Nicholas Cleves, Ann-Laure Decadt, Darren Drake, Ariel Erlij, Hernan Ferruchi, Hernan Diego Mendoza, and Alejandro Damian Pagnucco,” the notice of intent states. Five of the victims were tourists from Argentina.

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SORUCE: ABC News, Julia Jacobo and Aaron Katersky