Two Somalis were sentenced to life in prison Monday for acts of piracy that led to the death of four U.S. citizens, including two from Marina del Rey.
Muhidin Salad Omar and Mahdi Jama Mohamed were sentenced Monday in Norfolk federal court for seizing the yacht S/V Quest sailed by Jean and Scott Adam, of Marina del Rey, and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, of Seattle.
The four had been participating in an around-the-world race when they were captured in February.
U.S. officials attempted to negotiate with the alleged captors but the situation turned deadly after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired from the Quest at the USS Sterett, a guided-missile destroyer 600 yards away.
U.S. military personnel responded and after a brief gun battle, took control of the yacht. Two pirates were killed and 13 others were captured.
Military officials discovered all four hostages had been shot and killed by their captors.
“Somali piracy is a scourge on the world stage, and it continues to grow more widespread and more violent,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.
“Today’s sentencings should serve as yet another example, in the litany that already exists, of what happens to those who pirate our ships and participate in the killing of Americans. Muhidin Salad Omar and Mahdi Jama Mohamed will spend the rest of their lives behind bars, far away from the high seas they terrorized,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk.
Both Omar and Mohamed admitted they participated in the piracy but denied they personally shot victims, according to a statement from the FBI.