Byline: Associated Press/Brock Vergakis
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A federal judge in Virginia has sentenced a Somali pirate to 19 consecutive life sentences in prison for his role in the shooting deaths of four Americans off the coast of Africa, aboard a sailboat from Marina del Rey.
Chief District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith sentenced Ahmed Muse Salad on Nov. 12.
Salad was one of three Somalis convicted in the 2011 murders of the Americans aboard the yacht Quest. The boat’s owners, Jean and Scott Adam, along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay, were the first U.S. citizens killed in pirate attacks that have plagued the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, despite regular international patrols.
Salad and the others were among 19 who boarded the yacht in hopes of taking the Americans back to Somalia, so they could be ransomed for millions of dollars. The plan fell apart when the U.S. Navy began shadowing the 58-foot sailboat.
Prosecutors said Salad repeatedly fired an AK-47 at the Americans after negotiations broke down. They said he showed no remorse and bragged about killing them.