NORFOLK, Va. — A Somali pirate was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole for his role in the shooting deaths of four Americans aboard their yacht off the coast of Africa.
Chief District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith ordered Ahmed Muse Salad to serve 21 life sentences in all, 19 of them consecutively, saying the hefty sentence would serve as a deterrent to other pirates.
Prosecutors had originally sought the death penalty, but a federal jury refused that sentence.
Salad was one of three Somalis convicted of kidnapping, hostage taking, and murder in the killing of the Americans aboard their 58-foot yacht, among other things.
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 Navy began shadowing the boat.
Sailors had told the pirates they could keep the yacht and a small Navy boat in exchange for the hostages, but the pirates refused to take the deal because they didn’t believe they would get enough money.