José Sucuzhañay’s Killer: “So I Killed Someone — That Makes Me A Bad Guy?”

Jim Burroway

February 28th, 2009

Keith Phoenix (right) being lead out of the 83rd precinct in Brooklyn (DeCrescenzo / NY Daily News

Keith Phoenix (right) being led out of the 83rd precinct in Brooklyn (DeCrescenzo / NY Daily News)

That’s what murder suspect Keith Phoenix, 28, said when he confessed to the hate-crime murder of José Sucuzhañay:

“So I killed someone — that makes me a bad guy?” Police sources said Phoenix showed no remorse for beating the 31-year-old victim in the mistaken belief he was gay because he was walking arm-in-arm with his brother. “He kept saying, ‘What’s the big deal? The guy’s dead,'” a police source said.

Phoenix, an unemployed felon out on parole, was caught on security video laughing just 19 minutes after he and Hakim Scott, 25, bashed José with an aluminum baseball bat on December 7. Phoenix reportedly continued to swing at Sucuzhanay even as he lay twitching on the ground.  José was declared brain dead five days later. Scott confessed and has shown remorse for his role in José’s death, saying he was glad to get it off his chest. But Phoenix is a different animal altogether.

L. Junius Brutus

February 28th, 2009

What’s worse, a guy who is honest about not thinking that murder is a big deal, or someone who holds the exact same belief but pretends that he’s very sorry to get a lesser sentence?

Give me honesty any day of the week.


February 28th, 2009

I doubt it really matters what he says in this particular case. This guy is going away for a very long time, if not forever. He was already on parole for a felony according to the post. Now he kills someone in the coarse of a hate crime. It is going to be hard to paint the victim in a bad light, since he was walking down the street with his brother and not bothering anyone.

His dealings from this point forward are going to be with other cons and prison guards. He will likely die in prison. Gotta put on the tough guy, “I don’t care about anything” mask, cause he is going to be wearing it to his grave trying to survive day to day in prison.

All of it is so utterly pointless, yet sadly occurs again and again.

Stefano A

February 28th, 2009

For even more insanity from this killer. His defense attorney is claiming the attack was in self-defense.

The ex-con’s defense lawyer said Saturday that victim Jose Sucuzhanay provoked the deadly bat-bashing by going for an unspecified weapon.

“The deceased was the aggressor. I submit this was self-defense.”

New York Daily News


February 28th, 2009

“That makes me a bad guy?”

Yes. It does.


February 28th, 2009

Sounds like an excellent candidate for the death penalty.


February 28th, 2009

This is what happens when the Right demonizes entire groups of people (latinos, gays etc).

It leads to people really internalizing the dehumanizing rhetoric and acting out on it.

This guy saw latinos and gays as less than human and not deserving to live.

I was in high school when Matthew Shepard was killed. I will never forget my biology teacher wondering why the guys that killed him were in trouble, since they had merely killed a “fag”.

It is scary that people still think like this.


February 28th, 2009

This proves that there is a killing gene in certain people. To show absolutely no remorse for killing make the entire world vomit.

Just because someone is black is no reason to cling to the tired “but that is how we are viewed so that is how we will act” mentality.

Where is the black outrage from Jesse Jackson on this matter? Oh, wait, Phoenix is black.


February 28th, 2009

Bah, gene my ass. He’s just grown and socialized to have no empathy.


February 28th, 2009

well, maybe he is just uppity?

Mark F.

February 28th, 2009

“That Makes Me A Bad Guy?”

Yes, unless you are a U.S. President. Then you can kill people in foreign countries and be a good guy.


March 1st, 2009

Uhhh….yeah, right Josh. These two career criminals were inspired by what “the Right” has to say. (Stop with your wishful fantasies, man).


March 1st, 2009

Phoenix is a different animal altogether.

Animal is definitely the word. To claim there’s nothing even the least bit wrong with attacking someone the way he did? That is not the mind-set of a human being.

Jason D

March 1st, 2009

hmm, isn’t this how a lot of Prop 8 supporters reacted when we started protesting and boycotting their businesses?


March 1st, 2009

I think his statements are a ploy. If he seems unaware or incapable of remorse the defense can be that he is psychotic and incapable of a rational decision. This would likely keep him from receiving a death sentence. As John said, he could also be laying the foundations for a prison persona as a hair-trigger tough guy.

All this talk of a “killing gene” and his behaving like an “animal” can play into a defense that he isn’t functionally responsible for his actions. If you truly believe he is genetically predisposed to violence, you eliminate the possibility of a death sentence. It only takes one juror who believes this to take a death sentence off the table.

Hopefully his cohorts will give evidence of his homophobic hatred and help get a conviction. It doesn’t seem the public defender is holding his cards very close to his vest.

bill miller

March 1st, 2009

What a piece of trash! Another reason why we need more rights, exposure, and acceptance!!!


March 1st, 2009


Being unaware or incapable of remorse is most consistent with sociopathic behavior which is not a defense. It is in fact a strong arguement for indefinite detention or pursuing the death penalty.

His comments so far don’t sound much like psychosis either which could potentially be a defense, but only if he could prove he was psychotic at the time of the attack. Hints from his lawyer that this was somehow self defense (as laughably rediculous as that defense is) would forfeit any ability to raise a defense of diminshed capacity. You can’t be legitimately defending yourself and floridly psychotic and confused at the same time.

Ultimately, his best bet is to try to make a deal to knock a few years off his future sentence. If he pushes this to trial, the prosecutors will push for the max and use his cruel lack of remorse statement to convince a jury to show no mercy. Can’t imagine anyone who would deserve that more than this cretin.


March 2nd, 2009

Look, put a needle in the animal’s arm and euthanase it. There’s no cure for sociopathy. Other than lethal injection, that is.

Alex H

March 2nd, 2009

I agree with Miles. Get rid of it!

Unfortunately that brings us down to its level. But I can’t see any compassion for this thing.


March 2nd, 2009

I would like to see Keith die a very slow, painful death….It’s b/s like this that has NO place in this country…and for my taxes to pay to house and feed him….oh, hell to the naw…I hope he is raped and beaten relentlessly in prison….


March 3rd, 2009

Can we make exceptions to the disallowance of “cruel and unusual” punishment for scum like this? The death penalty for hate crimes must be MANDATORY.

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