New York: A 31-year-old New York woman charged with the murder of an Indian immigrant has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after she laughed at her arraignment telling the judge she thought it would be "cool" to push the victim in front of a train. Erika Menendez has been charged with 'murder as a hate crime' for pushing 46-year-old Sunando Sen in front of an oncoming train at a subway station in Queens on December 27.
Sen, who owned a printing and copying business, would be cremated on Monday by his friends after it emerged that he has no family in India. A Kolkata native, Sen lived with roommates in a small apartment in Queens and was unmarried. Menendez was arraigned on Saturday night but showed no remorse for her actions during the court hearing.
According to the Queens District Attorney's office, Menendez laughed uncontrollably and smiled during the hearing, telling prosecutors that she pushed Sen onto the subway tracks for no reason. "I pushed a Muslim," Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kaszuba quoted Menendez as telling detectives during the hearing.
"There is no reason. I just pushed him in front of the train because I thought it would be cool. I just pushed him because he was Muslim." Asked if Menendez showed any regret for the crime, Kaszuba said she told authorities: "Nope, I don't like to regret anything. It is what it is."
Menendez's behaviour at the hearing even infuriated Judge Gia Morris who ordered the woman's defence lawyer Dietrich Epperson to "Tell your client this is not funny. You're going to have to have your client stop laughing. This is not appropriate."
Epperson told the judge that Menendez's behaviour in court was not different from how she had been behaving since her arrest and said her client did not think the proceedings were funny. Morris ordered that Menendez be held without bail and undergo a psychiatric evaluation before her next court hearing on January 14. Menendez has not entered any plea.