The U.S. will seek out the death penalty against three Somalis if they are convicted of murder following the shooting deaths of four Americans aboard the hijacked Quest yacht last year.
Yacht owners Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., and friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were the first Americans killed in the pirate attacks off the coast of Africa, according to reports. The yacht was shadowed by a U.S. Navy warship when shots were fired.
The Associated Press reported that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder decided that the death penalty will be sought in the case and the file was unsealed on Monday.
Reports are that the accused, Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, are also facing death penalty on a number of other charges including hostage taking resulting in death, violence against maritime navigation resulting in death and kidnapping resulting in death.
The AP reported that 22 of the 26 counts are offenses that are eligible for the punishment of death.
Nineteen men reportedly boarded the boat and four of them died on board. Authorities released one person because he's a juvenile while 11 others pleaded guilty to piracy. They were given life sentences, the AP reported, and a 12th person who never boarded, but was identified as lead hostage negotiator was convicted of piracy on Friday.