Three Somalis were convicted on Monday of piracy, kidnapping and murder in the 2011 shooting deaths of four Americans sailing in the Indian Ocean off of Oman and could face the death penalty, according to court documents.
The three men – and eleven others who previously pleaded guilty – boarded the Americans’ yacht armed with assault rifles and planned to sail it to Somalia and hold the Americans for ransom. Instead, the hostages were killed by the pirates as they were being trailed by U.S. military forces.
A federal jury, which has been hearing the case since early June in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, found Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar guilty on all 26 counts against them, according to court records.
The jury will be hearing more evidence during the sentencing phase of the trial later this month.
Scott and Jean Adam, retirees from Marina del Rey, California, and their friends Phyllis Macay and Robert Riggle, both of Seattle, were killed aboard the California couple’s 58-foot sloop, Quest.
Prosecutors have said all four passengers were asleep when the boat was boarded on Feb. 18, 2011, by the armed assailants.
Negotiations at sea by U.S. Navy officials to free the Americans failed after four days, according to the indictment. Navy SEALs subsequently raided the yacht, killing two of the hostage-takers and capturing the rest.
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