US to Seek Death Penalty for NYC Bike Path Murderer

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NEW YORK — The US government said it plans to seek the death penalty for the man accused of using a truck to kill eight people on a Manhattan bike path on Halloween in 2017.

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In a letter filed Friday night in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors said Attorney General Merrick Garland “has decided to continue to pursue the death penalty” against Sayfullo Saipov, and that they have informed the attorneys for the accused and the victims.

David Patton, a federal public defender representing Saipov, declined to comment.

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The decision follows Garland’s July 2021 moratorium on federal executions while the Justice Department reviews its use of the death penalty. Executions had resumed in 2020 under Garland’s predecessor, William Barr, after a 17-year hiatus.

Saipov, 34, an Uzbek national, pleaded not guilty to a 28-count indictment, including murder and providing material support to Islamic State, a US-designated terrorist organization. United.

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Prosecutors said Saipov intentionally used a Home Depot rental truck to mow down people along the West Side Highway on October 31, 2017, in hopes of becoming a member of Islamic State.

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Prosecutors say Saipov chose Halloween because he thought more people would be on the streets and also planned to hit the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Among those killed were five Argentine tourists and one Belgian tourist. More than a dozen other people were seriously injured.

Saipov has been imprisoned since his arrest and is now housed in Brooklyn. If found guilty, he could also be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Hundreds of potential jurors received questionnaires last month to assess their knowledge of the case and potential biases.

Official jury selection could begin around October 11 and last a few weeks, and a trial could stretch until January 2023.

The Department of Justice under Garland defended the death penalty in some cases.

Among them are Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 2013 Boston Marathon suicide bomber, and Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine black people in a South Carolina church in 2015.

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