NY woman charged with hate crime murder of Indian

NY woman charged with hate crime murder of Indian

Two days after she shoved an Indian man to his death onto a subway train track here, a 31-year-old woman has been charged with "hate crime murder" as she admitted before police that she had pushed him because she "hated Hindus and Muslims".

Erika Menendez was ordered held without bail at her arraignment last night and appeared to express no remorse for her crime that left 46-year-old Sunando Sen dead.

Menendez was laughing in a maniacal manner during her arraignment, prompting an angry response from even the judge, the New York Daily News said.

The Queens resident started laughing as prosecutors read out her statements to authorities.

"I spent time in Times Square. You will find me on the video. I wasn't in Queens," she said. She later claimed "I pushed a Muslim on the tracks."

Menendez is charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime for the death of Sen. She faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

After being arrested by the police, she admitted pushing Sen onto the tracks because she thought he was a Muslim and she has harboured hatred for "Hindus and Muslims" since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Menendez told the police "in sum and substance" that "I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up."

Menendez's strange behaviour at her arraignment infuriated Queens Criminal Court Judge Gia Morris, who ordered the woman's defence lawyer Dietrich Epperson to "Tell your client this is not funny. This is not appropriate."

Prosecutors said Menendez expressed no remorse for her actions and spoke about smoking pot and "having sex with her man in Brooklyn" after she committed the crime.

Earlier Menendez seemed startled as she was led out of the police station in handcuffs to the court for her arraignment.

Menendez would undergo a psychiatric examination to determine whether she is mentally competent to stand trial.

She was apprehended by the police after it received a tip from a citizen who saw her on a Brooklyn street and recognised her from the sketch and surveillance video police had released.

Prosecutor Michelle Kaszuba said three other witnesses also identified Menendez from the video.

Sen's roommate AR Suman said he was glad the police had arrested the woman responsible for his friend's death.

"This is good news. They need to keep her locked up. After that, it's for God to decide," Suman was quoted as saying by the Daily News.

Sen did not have any family here and his friends are in touch with the Indian Consulate to arrange for his cremation tomorrow.

Angel Luis Santiago, a doorman at a building where Menendez's mother and stepfather lived, said she visited them regularly and had spent time in rehab and hospitals.
"When she didn't take her medication, she got wacko," Santiago said.

Another employee at the building, who did not give his name, said, "You could tell that something was not right, like she needed medication or something. It's just very sad what happened." 

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