ISIS Terrorist Escapes Death Penalty, Gets Life in Prison After Jury Unable to Reach Unanimous Verdict

Sayfullo Saipov, 35, of New York, will spend the rest of his life in a 22-hour a-day lockdown at Federal Prison ADX Florence in Colorado, aka the Supermax, after a Manhattan jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the penalty phase of his terrorism trial.


“This evil act was fueled by Saipov’s allegiance to ISIS, an allegiance which Saipov proudly maintained after the attack and up through his trial. Today a jury has declined to authorize the death penalty for Saipov. Accordingly, the defendant will be subject to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” US Attorney Damian Williams said Monday.

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U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick will sentence Saipov to the statutorily mandated sentence of life in prison for the nine capital counts in the Indictment.

Sayfullo Saipov

On Halloween afternoon in 2017, Sayfullo 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, severe 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 shahada 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.

On January 26, 2023, the same jury convicted Saipov of all 28 counts in the Indictment, which charged Saipov with murder to gain entrance to a racketeering enterprise (ISIS), assault with a dangerous weapon, and attempted murder to gain 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.

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 five years since his attack, Saipov continued to demonstrate his devotion to ISIS, including 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 the 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.

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Per the judge’s instructions, the jury did not specify on the verdict form how many panel members were in favor of or against imposing the death penalty.

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