Agence France-Presse

Woman who pushed man onto New York subway tracks told police she 'thought it would be cool'

Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers walk the tracks two days after a man was pushed to his death in front of a train on Dec. 5, 2012 in New York City.


Spencer Platt

A woman accused of pushing an Indian-born man to his death in front of a New York City subway train told police she did it because she "thought it would be cool,” prosecutors said at a court hearing.

Erika Menendez, 31, who was charged with murder as a hate crime after she told police she spontaneously pushed Sunando Sen onto the tracks, also said she killed the man because she blames Muslims for the Sept. 11 terror attacks, reported the Associated Press. She is said to have laughed so hard during her arraignment in criminal court Saturday night that Judge Gia Morris told her lawyer, "You're going to have to have your client stop laughing."

More from GlobalPost: Sunando Sen subway death: suspect charged (UPDATES)

"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," Menendez told police, according to the Queens district attorney's office.

Friends and coworkers said Sen was Hindu.

According to Outlook India, Sen owned a printing and copying business, and will be cremated today by his friends after they discovered he had no family in India. A Calcutta native, Sen lived with roommates in a small apartment in Queens and was not married.

Defense attorney Dietrich Epperson said Menendez’s behavior in court was the same as when he spoke to her privately, and that she didn’t really think the proceedings were funny, the AP also noted. She was held without bail and ordered to have a mental health exam. Menendez will next appear in court on Jan. 14.

The New York Times has found that Menendez had years of contact with New York City's mental health and law enforcement establishments.

Two months prior to the subway attack, Menendez was accused of hitting and scratching a man in Queens.

In 2003, she attacked another stranger, Daniel Conlisk, while the took out his garbage in Queens.

D. J. Jaffe, the executive director of the Mental Illness Policy Organization, an advocacy group, told The NTimes that thousands of troubled individuals with violent histories were often released from mental health facilities. He acknowledged that there was little oversight of their activities. 

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