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Posts for February, 2009

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.

Second Arrest Made In José Sucuzhañay Murder Case

Jim Burroway

February 27th, 2009
Keith Phoenix

Keith Phoenix

The second man wanted in the murder of José Sucuzhañay was arrested this morning in a pre-dawn raid in the Bronx. Keith Phoenix was sleeping when police found and arrested him without incident.

Phoenix is alleged to be the one who beat José Sucuzhañay with an aluminum baseball bat while a group of men beat and kicked him while shouting anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs. Phoenix was also caught on surveillance tape laughing and smiling just nineteen minutes after the attack.

José, an Ecuadorian immigrant was not gay. But he was walking home arm in arm with his brother, Romel, after a night of heavy drinking when the assailants drove by and mistook them for a gay couple. Romel was not seriously injured in the attack. José was declared brain dead five days later.

Hakim Scott, 25, was arrested on Tuesday and reportedly gave a complete confession. He was arraigned Thursday on charges of second degree murder as a hate crime.

Arrest Made In José Sucuzhañay’s Murder

Jim Burroway

February 25th, 2009
José Sucuzhañay

José Sucuzhañay

New York Police has arrested a suspect in the December 7 beating death of José Sucuzhañay. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last night that police arrested Hakim Scott of the Bronx and were looking for a second suspect.

We have done what we said we were going to do, bringing Jose’s killers to justice,” Bloomberg said. “In this city, there is no such thing as a second class citizen.

“Anyone who commits a hate crime, we will not rest until we arrest them.” Bloomberg said.

According to witnesses, José was walking arm-in-arm with his brother Romel after a night of heavy drinking when several passengers in a maroon SUV mistook them for a gay couple. Someone yelled, “Check out those faggots over there,” as the SUV pulled over and as many as three attackers emerged from the vehicle. One of the men broke a bottle over José’s head. When he fell to the ground, another began beating him with a baseball bat while the others kicked and punched him, yelling anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs. The attackers fled when Romel called 911. Romel was not seriously hurt, but José was declared brain dead a week later.

Hakim Scott

Hakim Scott

Scott has a lengthy rap sheet, including arrests for assault, robbery and weapons possession. He will be arraigned on Thursday on a charge of second degree murder as a hate crime. According to police, he was the one who broke the bottle over José’s head. Once in custody, Scott “made a full confession,” according to investigators.Two others are still being sought.

Keith Phoenix

Keith Phoenix

Update: Police are offering a a $22,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the second suspect. Police say that Keith Phoenix, 28, was vehicle’s driver. They also say he was the man who beat José with an aluminum baseball bat. Phoenix is on parole for armed robbery and is a friend of Scott’s from their Bronx neighborhood.

Brooklyn Hate Crime Victim Dies

Jim Burroway

December 14th, 2008

José Sucuzhañay, 31, the Ecuadorian immigrant who was brutally beaten early Sunday morning with a bottle and baseball bat died last night. He was beaten along with his brother, Romel, by passengers from a maroon SUV who saw the Ecuadorian brothers walking arm in arm after leaving a bar from a long night of drinking. The attackers mistook the two brothers as gay.

Jose had been declared brain dead on Tuesday and a death certificate was filed. His mother was still enroute from Ecuador when Jose passed away. The family had kept him on life support pending his mother’s arrival, but his heart stopped on Friday.

The attack occurred about 3:30 a.m. last Sunday as the two brothers were walking home after having been drinking. José and Romel were drunk and were holding each other as they were helping each other get home. Three men in a red or maroon SUV saw them and apparrently mistook them for being gay. They jumped out the SUV and one of the men broke a bottle over José’s head. When he fell to the ground, another began beating him with a baseball bat while the others kicked and punched him, yelling anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs. When Romel called 911 on his cell phone, the assailants piled back into the SUV and drove away. Romel was not seriously injured in the attack.

Police have made no arrests. They are investigating the murder as a hate crime.

There will be a vigil today in Brooklyn starting at 2:00 p.m. at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Grove Street. They will then walk to the site of the attack at Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place for a vigil at 4:00 p.m.

Capital Crime: Appearing Gay

Timothy Kincaid

December 12th, 2008

The two men were tipsy from drinking at a Mexican restaurant so they held onto each other on their way home. The passengers of the maroon SUV say them arm in arm and yelled, “Check out those f—-ts over there.” They pulled over and attacked the men, shouting homophobic and racist comments.

Witnesses said the three men got out of the SUV and set upon them. One hit José Sucuzhañay in the head with a glass bottle, dropping him to the sidewalk.

The SUV driver battered the defenseless man’s head with an aluminum baseball bat, witnesses said, while the others kicked and punched both brothers.

Neither of the two men, brothers José and Romel Sucuzhañay, are gay. They are from a culture in which brothers are not discouraged to show affection. But now Jose has been declared brain dead and his mother is flying in from Ecuador to say goodbye.

Pardon me if I’m finding it difficult to sympathize with the anti-gay activists who are whining about “violence” from gay “mobs”.