A British court sentenced a London cabdriver to life in prison Friday for the murder of a U.S. soldier in Iraq in a roadside bombing in 2007. As NBC News reports, for the family of Sgt. Randy Johnson, this case was a rare opportunity to see a person involved in a service member’s death face justice in a civilian court.
It took 11 hours for a jury of seven women and five men to find 38-year-old Anis Abid Sardar guilty of murder, by a vote of 11-1, Thursday. And they unanimously found him guilty of conspiracy to murder.
Prosecutors said he traveled to Syria to make bombs that were then planted in Iraq. The FBI found Sardar’s fingerprints on two explosive devices at the scene. Someone else’s fingerprints, from what authorities said was Sardar’s bomb-making team, were found on the specific device that killed Johnson.
Johnson, 34, was a platoon leader on his second tour of duty in Iraq. He and other soldiers were driving in an armored vehicle near Baghdad when they detonated the bomb. A medical team struggled to save his life.
The married father of two young sons grew up in Washington, D.C. He told his friends that his goal was to finish his tour and take his kids to Disney, according to NBC.
Johnson’s widow, Claudia Williams, told NBC that she had the opportunity to attend the trial but didn’t want to put their sons through the trauma.
After learning the verdict, she added, “I’m really relieved, but for us, it doesn’t change anything. We still lost Randy.”
British officials called it a “landmark prosecution.” Sue Hemming of the Crown Prosecution Service told the BBC it shows that international borders are not a “barrier” to the United Kingdom’s prosecution of terrorism committed anywhere in the world.