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Sunnyside subway pusher sentenced to 24 years in prison

By Bill Parry

A Rego Park woman was sentenced to 24 years in prison last Wednesday for shoving an Elmhurst man in front of a subway train because she thought he was a Muslim, prosecutors said.

Erika Menendez, 33, of 98-01 67th Street, pleaded guilty in March to first-degree manslaughter before Queens Supreme Court Judge Gregory Lasak, who handed down the sentence, according to the Queens district attorney.

Menendez was seen talking to herself on Dec. 17, 2012 at the 40th Street-Lowery Street subway station in Sunnyside moments before pushing 46-year-old Sunnando Sen to his death in front of an oncoming No. 7 subway, according to the criminal complaint.

Sen, who died from multiple blunt force trauma, was chosen by Menendez because she thought he was a Muslim, according to prosecutors. He was born in India and raised as a Hindu.

Menendez had told investigators that she “hated Hindus and Muslims ever since 9/11.”

Assistant District Attorney Peter Lomp called it a “horrific crime,” the worst he had seen in his 22-year career.

“The defendant committed what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare—being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The victim was shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself. His family and friends must now cope with the difficult task of adjusting to a life empty of the presence of their loved one. The defendant’s action clearly shows that she is a threat to society and deserving of today’s sentence.”

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