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Lawyer Wants Accused Subway Pusher Re-examined by Psychiatrist

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 29, 2013 2:34pm

QUEENS — The lawyer for the woman accused of killing a man by pushing him into the path of an oncoming subway train in Sunnyside last year wants his client to be examined by another doctor after she was found fit for trial by two court appointed doctors.

Erika Menendez — 31, who has allegedly confessed to shoving Sunando Sen, 46, to his death at the 40th Street station in Queens on Dec. 27 because she believed he was a Muslim — has previously been charged with murder in the second degree as a hate crime.

During an appearance Tuesday morning in Queens Supreme Court, Menendez appeared calm. She was handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit.

She only said one word "Yes," after the judge asked whether she was Erika Menendez.

She was accompanied by two lawyers, Joseph DeFelice, a court appointed attorney, and Thomas Kenniff, one of the lawyers hired by her family.

DeFelice told Justice Gregory Lasak that he was "not confirming the findings," referring to Menendez's psychiatric evaluation, which found her fit for trial.

“She is hearing voices, she has a long mental history,” DeFelice said outside of the courthouse. “So we want another doctor to take a look at her.”

He also said that his client had been in psychiatric hospitals many times in the past.

DeFelice said that even if Menendez is found fit to stand trial, “it doesn’t mean that at the time of the incident she was not suffering from a mental disease.”

“Now she is getting her medication," he said, suggesting that she may not have been at the time of the incident.

Menendez's family members were present in the courtroom but declined a comment.

Menendez, who is currently being held at Rikers Island, is due back in court on Feb. 28.