Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Second Sentence in NY Hate Crime Murder: Phoenix Gets 37 Years to Life

Keith Phoenix (l) in court

Brooklyn, NY – Keith Phoenix won’t be on the street again for a long time: 37 years to life, for the brutal hate murder of José Suchuzhañay in December 2008.  Phoenix wielded an aluminum baseball bat at the Ecuadorian immigrant’s head.  In a later remark to police, Phoenix exhibited the callous attitude behind the murder: “So I killed a guy,” he said. “Does that make me a bad person?”  The jury convicted him in early August of a hate crime as well as of murder, taking into account the defendant’s homophobic and anti-Hispanic remarks at the time of the slaying.  His accomplice, Hakim Scott, received a 37 year sentence earlier in the year for his role in the attack and murder.  The murder of Suchuzhañay enflamed the LGBTQ community and ignited an international outcry.  Suchuzhañay had lived in the United States for over a decade, and was a legal resident.  Though the victim was not gay, his assailants believed he was–another in a long line of incidents demonstrating the lethal potential still at work against the LGBTQ population in America.  The Ecuadorian community in the United States has expressed some satisfaction with the verdicts against their countryman’s slayers, and has called for continued vigilance as immigrants are targeted for discrimination and harm.  Diego Suchuzhañay, José’s brother, said to CNN, “Our brother wanted to make history when he died, and he did already. We should be proud of him. The way he died, we should be proud of him.”

August 14, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Bludgeoning, Ecuador, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, Mistaken as LGBT, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Racism, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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