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Man Faces Retrial in Immigrant Beating

Man Faces Retrial in Immigrant Beating


A New York man charged in the beating death of an Ecuadorian immigrant faces hate-crime charges for using antigay slurs before the attack, according to the New York Daily News.

Keith Phoenix (pictured) Tuesday began his second trial in the beating death of Jose Sucuzhanay, after the first resulted in a mistrial a month ago. One juror refused after three days to debate the case further.

Phoenix and another man, Hakim Scott, were accused of beating Sucuzhanay with a bottle and bat and leaving him to bleed to death in 2008.

At the time of the attack, Sucuzhanay was walking down the street, leaning on his brother; they had been drinking. Phoenix and Scott reportedly assumed the men were gay because of the way they walked together.

Romel Sucuzhanay, the brother of the victim, was not injured.

Defense attorneys say the incident had more to do with poor decisions and drunkenness than bigotry.

Phoenix and Scott were both charged with murder as a hate crime and tried in the Brooklyn supreme court. The court found Scott guilty of manslaughter but acquitted him of the hate-crime charge; he faces up to 40 years in prison.

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