Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jury convicts Hakim Scott of manslaughter

A Brooklyn jury has convicted one of the two men accused of beating José Sucuzhañay to death, but the panel acquitted Hakim Scott of second degree murder as a hate crime.

Hakim Scott faces up to 25 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter for beating Sucuzhañay to death with a baseball bat and broken bottles near the intersection of Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place on Dec. 7, 2008, but he would have faced a potential life sentence if the panel had found him guilty of the hate crime charges. Diego Sucuzhañay expressed disappointment at the verdict.

“His [Scott’s] initial motivation was hate, and that’s what motivated him to jump out of his car and attack him [my brother,]” he told Boy in Bushwick earlier tonight.

Diego Sucuzhañay also rejected defense attorneys’ claims Scott and Phoenix reacted in self-defense.

“There is no evidence my brothers provoked them at all,” he added. “They were just walking by.”

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, other elected officials and activists are scheduled to hold a press conference outside the courthouse tomorrow morning. She blasted the jury’s decision to acquit Scott on the hate crimes charge.

“It is incomprehensible to me that such violent acts of hate could receive a verdict of not guilty,” said Quinn in a statement. ”Hakim Scott viciously attacked José Sucuzhañay while calling him derogatory names and stood by and watched while his fellow attacker, Keith Phoenix, beat Jose with a baseball bat. José was attacked simply because of who he was and who these two criminals perceived him to be. His attack was motivated and fueled by pure hatred.”

A separate jury began to deliberate Phoenix’s fate today. Scott is scheduled to be sentenced on June 9.

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