Alleged subway pusher had mental issues

Dec. 31, 2012 at 8:03 AM

NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A 31-year-old New York City woman charged in the death of an Indian man she allegedly pushed onto subway tracks had a history of mental illness, police said.

Erika Menendez had been treated by the psychiatric staffs of mental health facilities in Manhattan and Queens -- Bellevue and Elmhurst Hospital Center, The New York Times reported Monday.

The exact nature of what Menendez was being treated for and any medications she was taking -- or was supposed to be taking -- was not reported.

Menendez had also been arrested at least three times, twice after violent confrontation, said police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"She has been in and out of institutions," one officer said.

In 2003, Menendez confronted Daniel Conlisk, a retired firefighter, as he took out his trash near his home in Queens and accused him of sleeping with her mother.

"She goes into a boxer's stance, and then she punches my face," he said. "I think I would have been dead if she had a weapon."

Menendez was charged Saturday with second-degree murder as a hate-crime in the death of Sunando Sen, an Indian immigrant, who Menendez allegedly pushed onto tracks in Queens in front of a train last week, the New York Daily News reported.

"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 was quoted by police officers as saying.

A judge ordered Saturday that Menendez be held without bail and have a psychiatric evaluation.

If convicted, she could face life in prison.

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