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Man charged with hate crime in Ecuadorian immigrant's death

  • Story Highlights
  • Hakim Scott, 25, charged with 2nd degree murder in New York case
  • Second suspect sought in beating of Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay
  • Brothers were hugging to stay warm; assailants made antigay remarks
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From Jason Kessler
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York police have made an arrest in the case of an Ecuadorian immigrant beaten to death in an apparent anti-Latino and antigay hate crime in December, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced Wednesday.

Jose Sucuzhanay was beaten after leaving a party at a church.

Jose Sucuzhanay was beaten after leaving a party at a church.

Police arrested Hakim Scott, 25, on Tuesday and charged him with second degree murder as a hate crime. Police are still looking for a second suspect.

On December 7, 2008, police say Jose Sucuzhanay and his brother Romel had left a party at a church and were embracing each other to keep warm in the cold when Scott and another man approached them in a car in Brooklyn's Bushwick section, about a block from the brothers' home. Police say the two assailants shouted antigay and anti-Latino vulgarities and attacked the brothers.

Scott first assaulted Jose with a beer bottle before chasing after Romel, police said. The second assailant proceeded to "savagely beat Jose about his ribs, shoulders," head and back with an aluminum bat, according to Kelly.

Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, died of his injuries in December hours before his mother arrived in New York from Ecuador. Romel Sucuzhanay, 34, suffered minor scrapes.

Police were able to identify two suspects after inferring that they had crossed the Triborough Bridge in the course of their flight from the crime scene. They interviewed bridge toll booth employees and combed through videotape of cars passing through cash-only lanes on the bridge.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said the incident should send a message that antigay violence endangers straights and gays alike.

"If there was ever a message to the people of this city or anywhere as to why heterosexuals have to stand up and not permit this type of violence ... it is this case," Hynes said.

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