Motive at issue in NYC hate-crime murder trial

May 6, 2010 7:15:02 AM PDT
Separate juries will decide the fates of two men charged with murder and assault as a hate crime in the death of an Ecuadorean man in Brooklyn. Deliberations are starting Thursday in the trial of Hakim Scott.

Another jury is being charged by the judge in the case of Keith Phoenix.

The 26-year-old Scott and the 30-year-old Phoenix have pleaded not guilty in the death of Jose Sucuzhanay and attempted assault of his brother, Romel, on Dec. 7, 2008.

Prosecutors said the defendants attacked the brothers because they were Hispanic and because Phoenix and Scott thought they were gay.

But defense lawyers have argued that what happened was just a fight in which all of the men were drunk.

Two juries are hearing the case because the defendants have implicated each other.