NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The woman facing murder charges for allegedly pushing a man to his death at a Queens subway station last year has been found fit to stand trial.
However, the woman’s mother said her daughter was mentally disturbed, off her medicine and not properly monitored.
Maricela Mera, the mother of accused killer Erika Menendez, offered her condolences Friday to the family of the victim, 46-year-old Sunando Sen.
“I feel terrible because of what happened and for where my daughter is right now,” Mera told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
Menendez, 31, was charged in the December subway pushing that killed Sen, an Indian immigrant and Muslim. Menendez is said to be schizophrenic and bi-polar. Mera said her daughter hadn’t taken her medicine.
“One of the biggest problems with the sickness is they believe they don’t need it once they feel good,” Mera said.
Mera said her daughter needed closer supervision mandated under Kendra’s Law, named for another subway pushing victim.
“We seem to be a society concerned with 16-ounce Cokes rather than mentally ill people,” said the suspect’s attorney, Joe DeFelice.
Menendez is charged with murder as a hate crime. The complaint alleges she said: “I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since [9/11].”
However, her mother claims she is not a racist, saying Menendez has a record of assaults against a variety of nationalities, men and women.
“When her mind gets like that, she doesn’t think. She just see everybody as an enemy,” Mera said.
But a roommate and friend of the victim doesn’t buy it.
“I don’t believe that because I think she’s a killer,” said MD Khan.
Menendez’s mother said she believes her daughter will end up behind bars for the rest of her life, but feels others in the system bear some responsibility for the tragedy.
With an 11-year history of mental illness, Menendez’s family is hoping she is found not guilty for reason of mental disease or defect and placed in a hospital for years to come.
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