Sentencing hearing begins for 3 Somali pirates

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Associated Press & Lucy Bustamante, 13News Now

Posted on July 22, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 22 at 7:00 PM

NORFOLK(AP) -- A sentencing hearing for three Somali pirates who could face the death penalty is underway at U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

Earlier this month, Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar were convicted in the 2011 shooting deaths of four Americans off the coast of Africa.

The yacht's owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., and their friends, Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were killed several days after they were taken hostage at sea. A jury found the Somalis guilty of all 26 charges. Of those, 22 counts are eligible for the death penalty.

Adam's ex-husband, Bill Savage, described her as a sailor, a scientist and an accomplished dentist who served on the California State Board of dentistry.

He broke down when the prosecutor asked him how he found out about his ex-wife's death.

"I found out through a phone call from ABC news producer and I didn't know what he was talking about ... Then, I got a call from my son, Drew, who said the FBI was at his door told him his mother had been killed," he related.

Their two sons smile to hear their dad describe their mom as "tough." She was tough enough to sail despite her seasickness - because she loved the water. The sentencing phase of the trial started Monday and is expected to last up to two weeks.

The decision to seek the death penalty was made by Attorney General Eric Holder.

AP-WF-07-22-13 1421GMT

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