Defendant in Sucuzhanay Trial Convicted of Hate Crimes
June 29, 2010
Yesterday, a New York State Supreme Court jury convicted Keith Phoenix of committing two hate crimes for beating José Sucuzhanay to death and attacking the decedent’s brother, Romel, in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood after mistaking the Ecuadorian immigrants as a gay couple. A mistrial was previously declared on May 11th when one juror held out for a lesser charge of manslaughter while the other 11 jurors believed that second-degree murder should be applied. Unlike the second jury, the first jury did not believe Phoenix’s acts were bias-motivated. After hearing the verdict, Diego Sucuzhanay, another of José’s brothers, stated that “this verdict sent the right message.” HRC applauds the jury for holding Phoenix accountable for the horrendous bias-motivated crimes he committed against José and Romel. Partial Contribution by Jeffrey Sallot, Law Fellow.
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