August 3, 2013, Three Somali pirates convicted in the 2011 shooting deaths of four Americans off the coast of Africa will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Closing arguments ended Wednesday in the sentencing phase for Ahmed Muse Salad, 25, Abukar Osman Beyle, 20, and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar,29. A federal jury of seven women and five men spent two days deliberating over if the men would receive the death penalty or life in prison.
On Friday, the jury read each verdict separately, and all chose life in prison. The sentence was accepted by Chief United States District Court Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
“Four Americans were taken hostage, terrorized and then murdered. Life in prison is reserved for those who commit heinous crimes – and the jury today decided the execution of four innocent Americans on the high seas meets that high bar,” said United States Attorney Neil H. MacBride as he announced the sentences Friday.
10 On Your Side spoke with a few of the jurors after the sentencing Friday.
“It was not unanimous to not put them to death,” said juror Sam Brownell. “It only takes one person, one juror to say life instead of death.”
Other jurors were not happy with the sentencing.
“They were not citizens of this country, and for this country to treat them like they are…ah it just blows my mind. That’s all I have to say,” said juror Jonathan Simmons.
“I don’t necessarily agree with, uh, justice was served. The process worked and the jury did a great job,” said Brownell.
The defendants were previously found guilty of all 26 counts charged, including the following: piracy, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, hostage taking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, and multiple firearms offenses.
The pirates were charged after boarding the yacht “Quest” on the night of February 18, 2011 and taking owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., and their friends, Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, hostage. The defendants killed the hostages several days later.
“Scott Adam, Jean Adam, Phyllis Macay, and Robert Riggle lost their lives and their families lost their loved ones. Nothing can make this right; nothing can make their families whole again – but we hope today’s verdict and sentences will bring some closure to their nightmare that began two years ago on the Indian Ocean,” MacBride said.
- Somali pirates sentenced to life in prison for killing four Americans (telegraph.co.uk)
- Jury Recommends Life Sentences for Somali Pirates who Killed Four Americans (blackchristiannews.com)
- Somali pirates get life in prison (wavy.com)
- Somali pirates face life in prison (bbc.co.uk)