updated 2/27/2009 11:54:32 AM ET 2009-02-27T16:54:32

A second arrest was made Friday in the hate crime killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant, a prosecutor said.

The arrest in suburban Yonkers came after police released a video of 28-year-old Keith Phoenix and offered a $22,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

In the video, Phoenix grins as he pays a toll at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge on Dec. 7 at 3:47 a.m., 19 minutes after real estate broker Jose Sucuzhanay and his brother were attacked in Brooklyn.

Police and prosecutors said Sucuzhanay was beaten with a bat and kicked by men shouting Hispanic and gay slurs as the brothers walked arm-in-arm to keep warm.

The other suspect, Hakim Scott, 25, pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree murder as a hate crime. If convicted, he could face 25 years to life in prison.

The attack ignited outrage from New York to Ecuador, sparking demonstrations around the city. On Thursday, community members held a rally at the spot where Sucuzhanay was beaten.

Before the street attack, Sucuzhanay, 31, and his brother, Romel, had attended a church party and stopped at a bar.

'Savagely' beaten
Police said Phoenix and Scott were sitting in a sport utility vehicle at a red light when they came upon the brothers. The groups “exchanged words.” Then Scott got out of the SUV, hit Jose Sucuzhanay with a beer bottle and chased Romel Sucuzhanay with it, separating the brothers, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Phoenix grabbed an aluminum baseball bat from the vehicle and “savagely beat Jose about his shoulders, ribs and back until he fell to the pavement,” Kelly said.

Romel Sucuzhanay was able to run and call police.

The attack left Jose Sucuzhanay in a coma. He died several days later as his mother was en route from Ecuador to see him. He was buried in Ecuador .

Investigators used information from witnesses about the SUV’s license plate to trace the vehicle to Phoenix’s girlfriend, who wasn’t involved in the attack, Kelly said. They linked Phoenix to the SUV using information from an Oct. 20, 2008, accident report; he was driving it at the time, police said. It’s the same vehicle shown in the video released Thursday.

The attack on Sucuzhanay came about a month after another Ecuadorean immigrant, Marcelo Lucero, was stabbed to death in Patchogue , on Long Island. Prosecutors said seven teenagers charged in that assault had set out to find a Hispanic person to attack.

Lucero’s mother and brother, Rosario and Joselo, attended the rally Thursday in support of Sucuzhanay’s family.

“We don’t deserve treatment like that,” Joselo Lucero said. “They have to stop the hate.”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments