Washington: President Donald Trump on Thursday called for the death penalty for the Uzbek national charged with carrying out the New York truck attack, demanding swift justice.
But the death penalty remains a rare sentence — and typically it takes years to be carried out.
– A legal possibility –
Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan, is accused of killing eight people in Tuesday’s onslaught on a bike path in lower Manhattan.
Most crimes are tried under state law but New York is not one of the 31 US states that have capital punishment.
“I’m not someone who believes in the death penalty in general,” New York’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference on Thursday. “I believe this is an individual who should rot in prison for the rest of his life.”
The federal government, however, can seek the death penalty for crimes codified under federal law as capital offenses.
Destruction of a motor vehicle resulting in death — a charge prosecutors have already filed against Saipov — also is a federal crime punishable by death.
Other capital offenses under federal law are treason, espionage, large-scale drug trafficking, the assassination of the president or member of Congress, murder by use of explosives or chemical weapons, torture, war crimes, genocide, death resulting from aircraft hijacking, or death resulting from the deprivation of constitutional rights.