Leo Standora, Erica Pearson and Alison Gendar, Daily News (New York), Feburary 26, 2009
From his laughing face caught on video, no one would guess Keith Phoenix had just beaten a man to death with a baseball bat in what police call a bias attack.
The 28-year-old murder suspect was all smiles as he pulled into an RFK bridge cash lane Dec. 7–just 19 minutes after he beat Ecuadoran immigrant Jose Sucuzhanay to death on a Brooklyn street, cops said.
Police released the chilling surveillance video Thursday as cops hunt for Phoenix, who lives in the Bronx.
Another suspect, Hakim Scott, 25, was caught Tuesday and is awaiting arraignment on charges of second-degree murder as a hate crime.
Yelling anti-gay slurs, the duo attacked Sucuzhanay, 31, mistakenly thinking the real estate agent was gay because he was walking arm-in-arm with his brother, cops said.
The crime spurred hundreds to march in Brooklyn in protest against racism and bigotry and drew condemnations from many politicians.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn urged New Yorkers to “stand together to denounce such reprehensible acts,” adding “we will not tolerate hate crimes of any kind.”
Witnesses said the attackers hurled anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs at Sucuzhanay and his brother Romel, 38, who survived the attack.
Scott’s aunt Ella Moore claimed her nephew had nothing against Hispanics or gays, saying, “He’s a good kid and this is sad.”