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Somali sentenced for yacht hijacking

NORFOLK — A Somali man was sentenced to life in prison Monday for his role in the hijacking of a yacht off the coast of Africa that left all four Americans onboard dead, telling a federal judge that he never meant for anyone to get hurt.

“I’d like to express my regret and sorrow to the victims’ families,” Ali Abdi Mohamed said through an interpreter.

Mohamed is the first of 11 men who have pleaded guilty to piracy in the case to be sentenced. Each of the men face mandatory life sentences, although that could eventually be reduced as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. A second Somali was expected to be sentenced later in the day.

The owners of the Quest, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were fatally shot in February several days after being taken hostage several hundred miles south of Oman. They were the first Americans to be killed in a wave of piracy that has plagued the Indian Ocean in recent years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports