NEW YORK - (AP) - A man who smashed a beer bottle over the head ofan Ecuadorean immigrant was convicted Thursday of manslaughter, buta jury decided he did not commit a hate crime.
Hakim Scott faces 25 years in prison on the manslaughter chargewhen he is sentenced June 9. The state Supreme Court jury inBrooklyn acquitted him of murder and hate crime counts. A secondjury is deliberating charges for his co-defendant, Keith Phoenix.
Diego Sucuzhanay, one of the victim's brothers, said he didn'tunderstand why the jury didn't convict Scott of a hate crime."There was a lot of proofs and testimony from the witness thatthere were words used when they were attacking our brothers," hesaid.
Prosecutors did not comment. Jorge Lopez Amaya, Consul Generalof Ecuador, said he would wait to speak until the second verdict,but praised the work of the prosecutors.
Scott was accused of breaking the bottle over the head of JoseSucuzhanay as he walked arm-and-arm with his brother, Romel, on acold night in Brooklyn. The brothers were returning home from abar; Jose was drunk, and Romel was helping him walk.
Prosecutors said Scott, 26, and Phoenix, 30, mistook thebrothers for gay men, and yelled anti-Hispanic and anti-gay slursat them. Scott smashed the bottle over Jose Sucuzhanay's head andchased after Romel with the broken bottle, while Phoenix beatSucuzhanay with an aluminum baseball bat so badly he cracked openhis skull, prosecutors said. Sucuzhanay died several days later ata hospital.
Phoenix has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder,manslaughter and attempted assault, all as hate crimes. His jurywill continue deliberations Friday.
Phoenix's defense attorney, Philip Smallman, said Thursday inclosing arguments that the case was about a fight that escalated,not a premeditated attack.
After the attack, hundreds of people demonstrated in Brooklyn.Officials in Ecuador monitored the investigation and discussedurging the U.S. Congress to back a campaign of anti-bias education.
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Defense says client wasn't part of hate crime