The Rego Park woman with a history of mental health issues was found fit for trial on charges she murdered a Hindu man by pushing him off the No. 7 train by Queens Criminal Court Judge Dorothy Chin Brandt Monday morning.
The ruling followed results of defendant Erika Menendez’s psychiatric evaluation.
In December, Menendez was ordered to undergo the test after she laughed throughout her arraignment. She has battled with mental health issues in the past, according to various sources, and was witnessed mumbling to herself and pacing previous to the deadly incident.
Officers also arrested her for violent crimes and drug possession in the past, police said. In 2003, Menendez punched former firefighter Daniel Conlisk in the face outside of his Ridgewood home.
Menendez, who is held without bail, is being charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime and two counts of second-degree murder. She faces 25 years in prison if convicted.
“When hate crimes do, regrettably, occur, theywill be condemned in the strongest possible terms and those responsible will be brought to justice to answer for their actions,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
She allegedly killed Sunando Sen on Dec. 27 by pushing him off the Sunnyside40th Street-Lowery Street subway station.
According to Brown, Menendez confessed to the crime by saying “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.”
Sen’s good friend Ranjit De Roy described the India immigrant and small business owner as a “gentle man who never harmed anyone” at a rally against hate crimes in Jackson Heights last week.
Menendez was in the hospital during the Monday hearing, according to her attorney Steven Raiser.
Her arraignment on the indictment is scheduled for Jan. 29.
She has an outstanding reckless driving warrant issued in February of last year. The charges will likely be combined.