NEW YORK – A woman accused of shoving a man to his death in front of a subway train because she believed he was Muslim laughed and smiled during a court hearing where she was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Erika Menendez, 31, was charged Saturday night with murder as a hate crime after she told police she spontaneously pushed Sunando Sen, 46, according to prosecutors.
“There is no reason. I just pushed him in front of the train because I thought it would be cool,” she said, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.
She laughed so hard during her arraignment that Judge Gia Morris told her lawyer: “You’re going to have to have your client stop laughing.”
Menendez was held without bail and ordered to have a mental health exam.
“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 told police, according to the district attorney’s office.
Friends and co-workers said Sen, a native of Calcutta, was Hindu. He had lived in Queens for decades and was a graphic designer and copy shop owner.