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Hate Crime Conviction in Brooklyn Immigrant Murder

Hate Crime Conviction in Brooklyn Immigrant Murder


Keith Phoenix, one of two men who attacked Ecuadorian immigrant Jose Sucuzhanay and his brother Romel with anti-Latino and antigay slurs in Brooklyn, New York in 2008, was convicted late Monday of second-degree murder as a hate crime and attempted assault as a hate crime. The first trial for Phoenix ended in a mistrial last month.

According to Gay City News, "Phoenix was convicted on the top counts he faced and could get as much as 40 years in prison for the killing when he is sentenced on August 5. His first trial ended in a mistrial after one juror held out for a manslaughter conviction while the other 11 wanted to convict on second-degree murder. The first jury did not believe the attack was a hate crime."

Jose Sucuzhanay died of the injuries he received in the attack by Phoenix and Hakim Scott. Police believe the attackers perceived the brothers to be gay because they were huddled together for warmth on a cold night as they walked home in the Bushwick neighborhood.

Scott was convicted of manslaughter and attempted assault, but not as hate crimes, last month. He will be sentenced in July.

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