NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The woman accused of pushing a Bangladeshi immigrant to his death in front of an oncoming subway train last month has been found fit to stand trial.
Erika Menendez, 31, has been charged with second degree murder as a hate crime for allegedly pushing Sunando Sen, 46, onto the tracks as a 7 train was approaching the 40th-Lowery St. station.
At a hearing on Monday, the judge ruled that Menendez is fit to stand trial. Menendez was not in court for the hearing. A lawyer hired by the woman’s family said she remains hospitalized.
In the days after the Dec. 27 shoving incident, police said that Menendez’s family had previously called authorities several times because she had not been properly taking her prescribed medication.
Police said the suspect’s family members called authorities several times in the past five years because they were having difficulty dealing with her. Police did not say what the medication was.
Witnesses said Menendez was pacing and talking to herself in the minutes before the incident on the subway platform. After allegedly shoving Sen, Menendez was captured on surveillance video running out of the subway station.
Menendez was arrested days after the Dec. 27 incident. According to police, the suspect admitted to pushing Sen because she hates Muslims and Hindus. Sen was Hindu.
Menendez reportedly told authorities, “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,” according to the criminal complaint.
She later said, “There is no reason. I just pushed him in front of the train because I thought it would be cool,” according to the Queens district attorney’s office.
According to police, there was no interaction between Sen and Menendez before the shoving incident.
She had been arrested several times prior, according to police. She pleaded guilty to assaulting a man in 2003, and drug possession.
Menendez was incoherent at her arraignment in Queens criminal court last month, at one point laughing so hard that the judge told her defense lawyer, “You’re going to have to have your client stop laughing.”
Menendez is due to be arraigned on an indictment on Jan. 29.
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