Sunday, March 1, 2009

Suspect in beating death of Ecuadorian immigrant claims self-defense

I've been away from the blog for a few days, but the latest revelation to emerge in the beating death of Ecuadorian immigrant José Sucuzhañay in Bushwick last December is one of the two suspects arrested in connection with the crime has claimed self-defense.

New York Police Department officers arrested Keith Phoenix in Yonkers less than two days after they took Hakim Scott into custody, but Phoenix reportedly told detectives he acted in self-defense after he claimed Sucuzhañay and his brother provoked a fight as they walked home from a nearby bar.

Phoenix's lawyer, Jay H. Schwitzman, told reporters outside Brooklyn Criminal Court yesterday his client went to break-up a fight between Scott and Sucuzhañay after one of the brothers kicked the door of Phoenix's SUV. Schwitzman also denied Sucuzhañay's death is an anti-gay hate crime.

Phoenix and Scott allegedly used anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs as they beat Sucuzhañay with a baseball bat and bottles as he and his brother Romel walked arm-in-arm near the corner of Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place on Dec. 7. Sucuzhañay died in a Queens hospital five days later, and his death sparked widespread outrage across New York.

An NYPD spokesperson categorically denied Phoenix's claims. Both Phoenix and Scott face a charge of second degree murder as a hate crime.

1 comment:

SGL Café.com said...

We all know this is just fancy-footwork BS on the part of Phoenix's lawyer. He's just doing his job, I guess.

But bottomline, even IF one of the brothers had kicked the vehicle (and I doubt it) - once you exit the vehicle with a bat, you can no longer claim self-defense.