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Manslaughter, No Hate-Crime Conviction, in Deadly Beating

Manslaughter, No Hate-Crime Conviction, in Deadly Beating


One of two men charged in the 2008 beating of an Ecuadorean immigrant in which they yelled antigay and anti Latino slurs was convicted Thursday of manslaughter in Brooklyn, N.Y. The jury did not find Hakim Scott guilty of a hate crime or murder in the death of Jose Sucuzhanay.

According to the Associated Press, "Hakim Scott faces 25 years in prison on the manslaughter charge when he is sentenced June 9. The state Supreme Court jury in Brooklyn acquitted him of murder and hate crime counts. A second jury was deliberating charges for his co-defendant, Keith Phoenix."

Scott would have faced a longer sentence had the jury convicted him of a hate crime.

Prosecutors charged that Scott, 26, and Phoenix, 30, perceived Sucuzhanay and his brother Romel to be gay men as they walked home from a bar arm-in-arm one cold one night in December 2008 in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Scott broke a bottle over Jose's head and chased Romel with the broken bottle, while Phoenix beat Jose so severely with an aluminum baseball bat that his skull cracked. Jose died a few days later in the hospital.

Jury deliberations began for Phoenix Thursday night. He is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and attempted assault as hate crimes, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

A group of elected officials and advocates including New York City council speaker Christine Quinn and Diego Sucuzhanay, a brother of Jose, will hold a press conference outside the Brooklyn courthouse late Friday morning in reaction to the Scott verdict.

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