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GAY-HATE 'KILLER' LAUGHS OFF BUST

By MURRAY WEISS and ADAM NICHOLS
Raw Video:Police release this short video showing suspect, Keith Phoenix,28, who is suspected in the death of Jose Sucuzhanay, minutes after the beating.



The heartless thugs busted for battering a defenseless Sucuzhanay to death coldly told cops the killing was no big deal, police sources said.

"So I killed a man - that makes me a bad guy?" grinning goon Keith Phoenix allegedly asked cops yesterday after he was captured cowering in a Yonkers bathtub.

His buddy, Hakim Scott, made a similarly jaw-dropping statement when he was captured earlier this week.

"The guy's dead. Why don't you guys drop it?" he had the gall to ask, according to a police source.

Phoenix, 28, and Scott, 25, allegedly hurled ethnic and homophobic slurs at José Sucuzhanay on a Brooklyn street and shattered a bottle over his head before Phoenix bashed him to death with a baseball bat.

The killers thought Sucuzhanay, 31, a father of two, was gay because he had been huddling against the cold with his brother as they walked home from a church party on Dec. 7.

Phoenix allegedly admitted to taking six swings with the bat.

"He started to walk away when he saw [Sucuzhanay] was moving," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly yesterday. "He came back and hit him again in the head."

Just 19 minutes later, an RFK/Triborough Bridge surveillance camera caught Phoenix laughing it up with his pal as they sped from the scene.

But his sinister smile was nowhere to be seen when cops found him in a predawn raid yesterday, as he hid in the bathroom of a 59-year- old woman's Yonkers home.

"He confessed everything straight away," said a police source. "He told us exactly what he did, but he didn't say why. He didn't describe any motive, and he didn't show any remorse."

The accused killers' smug statements left Sucuzhanay's family sick.

"They are really upset. They're going through a lot of pain," said their lawyer, José Arrufat. "Seeing pictures of him grinning minutes after he killed José hurt them, but now they can't even talk."

Phoenix, an unemployed ex-con, told cops he dumped the baseball bat in a park next to the Bronx Zoo and spent nearly three months on the lam crashing with girlfriends in Manhattan, Westchester and Connecticut, sources said.

The Bronx-born thug wasted away the days playing games on a computer, the source said.

The break came yesterday when a man living at a Bronx address that the cops had staked out for days gave up the home of one of Phoenix's gal pals.

"He said, 'Why not stop harassing me and go to this place in Yonkers?' " said the police source.

The woman there knew Phoenix's girlfriend, said the source.

"He had shown up there [Thursday], asking if he could have a shower and stay over for the night," said the source. "She said OK, but she was afraid and was getting concerned about what was going on."

Phoenix and Scott are charged with murder as a hate crime.

"This will send a message that you picked the wrong city if you want to be intolerant," Mayor Bloomberg said.

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Added: Feb-28-2009 Occurred On: Feb-27-2009
By: wayvel
In:
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Tags: Keith Phoenix, Sucuzhanay, Hakim Scott, homophobic, Yonkers, baseball bat, murder
Views: 8370 | Comments: 36 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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