The murderers of Jose Sucuzhanay were charged yesterday with second degree murder with hate crimes enhancements and may get from 78 years to life in prison.
The two men accused of fatally beating an Ecuadorean immigrant with a bat and a bottle after shouting epithets about Hispanics and gays face 78 years to life in prison if convicted on charges handed up by a Brooklyn grand jury and unsealed on Tuesday. The two suspects, Keith Phoenix, 28, and Hakim Scott, 25, are charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault, all as hate crimes, for the Dec. 7 attack on the immigrant, Jose O. Sucuzhañay, and his brother Romel, who survived. At a news conference in Brooklyn announcing the charges, the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, said that if the men are convicted, his office would push for the sentences to run consecutively. “The acts which we charge this morning,” he said, “are no less despicable because the victims Jose and Romel Sucuzhañay were not gay.”
Newly released details of the attack reveal that the incident began when one brother wrapped his coat around the other to shield him from the cold.