Times Square subway bomber is sentenced to life in prison for ‘barbaric and heinous’ 2017 attack that saw him set off a homemade pipe bomb in NYC

  • Akayed Ullah, 31, was sentenced to life in prison in Manhattan federal court on Thursday 
  • Ullah had detonated his homemade pipe bomb during rush hour in New York City’s busiest subway station on December 11, 2017 
  • Ullah largely failed when the bomb attached to his chest barely exploded and left him with severe burns and injuries 
  • No one died but four other people were injured in the explosion 
  • During his sentencing, Judge Richard J. Sullivan slammed his crime as a ‘barbaric and heinous’ plot to kill as many people as he could
  • Ullah, speaking through a white mask over his black beard, apologized before hearing the sentence 

Akayed Ullah, 31, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court on Thursday after a judge slammed his crime as a ‘barbaric and heinous’ plot to kill as many people as he could 

A Bangladeshi immigrant convicted of setting off a pipe bomb strapped to his chest during rush hour in New York City’s Times Square subway station in 2017 has been sentenced to life in prison. 

Akayed Ullah, 31, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court on Thursday after a judge slammed his crime as a ‘barbaric and heinous’ plot to kill as many people as he could.

He had detonated his homemade pipe bomb during rush hour in New York City’s busiest subway station on December 11, 2017. 

The bomb materials had come from a nearby construction site where Ullah worked as an electrician. 

Ullah, who is married and has a 3-year-old son, largely failed when the bomb attached to his chest barely exploded and left him with severe burns and injuries.

No one died but four other people were injured in the explosion. 

During his sentencing, Judge Richard J. Sullivan said Ullah had carried out ‘about as serious a crime as there is’. 

‘A life sentence is appropriate,’ Sullivan said. ‘It was a truly barbaric and heinous crime.’

The judge told the would-be suicide bomber that life in prison was ‘less draconian than the sentence you were going to impose on yourself’.

Ullah, speaking through a white mask over his black beard and with his tearful mother looking on from a courtroom bench behind him, apologized before hearing the sentence.

‘Your honor, what I did on December 11, it was wrong,’ he said. ‘I can tell you from the bottom of my heart, I´m deeply sorry… I do not support harming innocent people.’

Ullah set off a pipe bomb during rush hour in New York City’s busiest subway station, Times Square, in December 2017

Ullah largely failed when the bomb attached to his chest barely exploded, burning him severely but largely sparing those around him from severe injuries. Authorities are pictured above approaching a severely injured Ullah

The attack in a pedestrian tunnel beneath Times Square and the Port Authority bus terminal left Ullah seriously burned but spared some pedestrians nearby from more serious injuries.

Surveillance video of the attack showed Ullah entering the subway station at 6.26am before making his way towards Port Authority via the underground pedestrian tunnel. 

The footage showed the moment he detonated the bomb at 7.18am. His body went rigid before he collapsed on the ground. Shrapnel and bits of his clothing could be seen flying in the air. 

The bomb sent pedestrians fleeing before officers approached with their guns drawn. After realizing he was alive, officers turned him over and handcuffed him.  

Prosecutors had sought the life term for Ullah, saying the ‘premeditated and vicious’ attack was committed on behalf of ISIS.

But defense lawyer Amy Gallicchio said Ullah deserved no more than the mandatory 35 years in prison. 

She said he had ‘lived lawfully and peacefully’ before the December 2017 attack that she blamed on a ‘personal crisis that left him isolated, depressed, vulnerable and suicidal.’

Ullah is pictured above after being placed in handcuffs following the detonation. He was rushed to hospital after suffering from severe burns and injuries

Ullah was convicted in November 2018 on charges including using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a public transportation system and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization

‘He’s not an evil man. He is not a monster,’ she said.

At trial, prosecutors showed jurors Ullah’s post-arrest statements and social media comments, including when he taunted then-President Donald Trump on Facebook right before the attack.

Hours after Ullah’s bombing attempt, Trump derided the immigration system that had allowed Ullah – and multitudes of law-abiding Bangladeshis – to enter the U.S.

At the time of the attack, Ullah had a green card, allowing him to live in the US.

He lived with his mother, sister and two brothers in Brooklyn, while his wife and then-infant son lived in Bangladesh. 

Trump said allowing foreigners to follow relatives to the U.S. was ‘incompatible with national security.’

Ullah was convicted in November 2018 on charges including using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a public transportation system and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

His sentence was formally described as life in prison plus 30 years because one count required that a 30-year mandatory sentence be added to whatever was imposed for the other charges. 

The judge, who now sits on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, also ordered $7,380 in restitution.

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