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Mistrial for Second Brooklyn Hate Crime Defendant

Mistrial for Second Brooklyn Hate Crime Defendant


A mistrial was declared Tuesday night in the case of the second man accused of beating an Ecuadorean immigrant to death in Brooklyn, New York after mistaking him for gay in 2008.

According to Gay City News, Justice Patricia M. Di Mango of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn announced the mistrial late Tuesday after the jury said it was at an impasse regarding the case against defendant Keith Phoenix.

"The Phoenix jury got the case on May 6, but it quickly became apparent that their deliberations were troubled," reports Gay City News. "By May 10, they had sent 16 notes to the judge asking to see evidence, read back testimony, or hear instructions on the law. Little of their time on May 6 and 7 was spent discussing the case among themselves."

Phoenix, 30, faced counts including second-degree murder and manslaughter, with some charged as hate crimes. He and Hakim Scott were tried together but with separate juries in the death of Jose Sucuzhanay, whom prosecutors say the men beat to death because they mistook him for gay one December night in the Bushwick neighborhood.

Last week, a jury found Scott, 26, guilty of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree attempted assault, but not as hate crimes. The verdict touched off an outcry from advocates and elected officials.

Judge Di Mango set June 15 as the new trial date for Phoenix, according to Gay City News.

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