NEW YORK (AP) — A Belgian man whose spouse misplaced her legs in a lethal terrorist assault on a New York Metropolis bike path stated he contemplated suicide after he had largely recovered from his bodily wounds. He testified Tuesday as a jury considers the demise penalty for the militant Islamic attacker.
Aristide Melissas testified in a federal courtroom in Manhattan to help the government’s push for a demise sentence for Sayfullo Saipov. If all 12 jurors don’t agree to finish his life, the 35-year-old will routinely spend life in jail.
Melissas stated he was present process 22 months of rehabilitation from bodily wounds that included a fractured cranium when he hit an 18-month stretch of psychological lows “the place I considered ending my life.”
“Then I stated: ‘Don’t do it. You may have household. You are sturdy. Search assist,’” he stated.
Saipov was convicted in late January of prices within the Oct. 31, 2017, assault. He drove a rental truck on a decrease Manhattan bike path alongside the Hudson River at excessive velocity, boasting hours afterward to FBI brokers that he had hoped to kill extra folks. Prosecutors say he had turn out to be immersed on-line in Islamic State group propaganda.
As a part of a weeklong presentation of proof meant to steer jurors to elect the death penalty, prosecutors have known as survivors like Melissas to explain their persevering with ache.
In addition they have argued that Saipov, a citizen of Uzbekistan, stays harmful and dedicated to terrorism, even whereas incarcerated.
Two ladies who labored at federal jails the place Saipov has been held since his arrest say he scared them together with his antics after he obtained indignant.
One stated he was so indignant about his encounter with a guard the evening earlier than that he stated he would not take away a overlaying he had positioned over the cell’s video digital camera till the guard’s head was reduce off.
One other jail worker who works as a guard testified that Saipov as soon as grew to become so indignant that he kicked his cell door repeatedly and struck a window so onerous that it cracked as he threatened to chop her head off.
Melissas, who testified earlier within the trial as did his spouse, returned to the witness stand as prosecutors tried to display the continuing pain felt by a dozen and a half people critically injured within the assault.
Melissas stated he was driving bikes together with his spouse, his youngest son and a nephew when he heard loud screeching and crashing noises behind him earlier than he was knocked out, solely to regain consciousness in a pool of his personal blood as a stranger’s voice advised him an ambulance would arrive quickly.
The one-time chief govt of his household’s enterprise stated he can now not work a full day. And every evening, he misses cuddling as much as his spouse’s ft a lot that he seeks consolation by holding the socks she wore the evening earlier than she misplaced her legs.
“It does not change something,” he stated, alluding to what was misplaced. “I nonetheless love her a lot.”