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Defense Contesting Ruling That Alleged Subway Pusher Is Mentally Unfit For Trial

Erika Menendez Being Held On Murder Charge In Death Of Sunando Sen
Erika Menendez Perp Walk (credit: CBS 2)

Erika Menendez Perp Walk (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Defense attorneys for the woman accused of shoving a man to his death from a New York City subway platform are contesting a ruling that she is mentally fit for trial.

The defense will have its own psychiatrist examine 31-year-old Erika Menendez.

Authorities were called to her home several times in the past five years because she had not been taking prescribed medications and had been difficult to deal with.

Menendez is being held on a charge of murder as a hate crime in the Dec. 29 death of 46-year-old Sunando Sen, who was standing on a subway platform in Queens when he was pushed.

Authorities said Menendez pushed Sen because she thought he was Muslim. 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.

Police said witnesses saw the suspect pacing and mumbling on the platform before taking a seat alone on a wooden bench. Then as the train approached the station, witnesses said she suddenly shot forward, shoving the unsuspecting man onto the tracks and directly into the path of an oncoming 7 train.

Sen ran a copy shop on Amsterdam Avenue near Columbia University and shared one floor of a house in Queens with two roommates.

Menendez’s arraignment, originally planned for Tuesday, was postponed until Feb. 27. Her family was in court but didn’t comment.

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