Sayfullo Saipov’s mother cries, says she still loves her son while on the stand at death penalty trial
At least one person still loves lower Manhattan bike path killer Sayfullo Saipov — his mother.
“I love him more than my life,” the radical Islamic terrorist’s mother, Mukaddas Saipova, testified in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday.
Saipova traveled from Uzbekistan to convince a jury not to sentence her son to death for fatally mowing down eight people on a bike path adjacent to Hudson River Park on Halloween, 2017.
A distraught Saipova, at times speechless on the witness stand, told jurors her son’s personality changed over the years after he moved to the U.S. in 2010. She said she still loved him despite his crime and hoped the panel would spare his life so he might one day return to being the loving son she remembers.
“I will know that he is alive, and I will know that he is breathing with me,” she said. “I will tell his children that he is alive. I think that after many years he will come out as the old Sayfullo.”
Saipova was one of several of his relatives to testify at the trial.
“His children love him very much, and he loves his children very much, too. And they wait for him,” Saipova said through an interpreter, breaking into tears.
Saipov, 35, was convicted of 28 murder and terrorism charges on Jan. 26. Trial evidence included harrowing video footage of Saipov barreling down the bike path in a 6,000-pound flatbed truck he rented from a Home Depot.
Six of the eight fatalities were tourists. The other two were young men from New York and New Jersey. Saipov’s lawyers declared him guilty of murder from the start, but they said the government was wrong in arguing he carried out the bloodshed to join ISIS. They said he became brainwashed in America by extremist propaganda during a job as a long-haul truck driver.
The defense rested it’s case Wednesday and the jury is expected to begin deliberating next week whether the government should kill him. Prosecutors say he poses too much of a threat to correction officers to remain alive.
Judge Vernon Broderick gave Saipov one last chance to testify.