Psych Eval Ordered for Suspected Subway Pusher

Erika Menendez has history of mental illness, says family

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 30, 2012 12:19 PM CST

(Newser) – Erika Menendez laughed so hard that she shook, and appeared "unhinged" last night at her arraignment on charges that she shoved a man to his death in the New York City subway, reports the New York Post. “You’re going to have to have your client stop laughing,” the judge admonished her lawyers. Menendez, 31, is currently being held without bail and will undergo a mental health examination today, adds the AP. Cops say that she admitted fatally pushing 46-year-old Sunando Sen; she's charged with a hate crime because she told police "it was an act against Muslims," though Sen was a Hindu.

“Erika is a bipolar person, and that is why this happened—not because she was a terrorist,” said a man who picked up the phone at her family's residence. “She’s been in Elmhurst Hospital 10 to 15 times.” The family has in the past sought help for Menendez, an aunt tells the Post, but "when they go into the hospital, they just give her two pills and throw her back out on the street.”

A sketch of the woman who pushed a man to his death in the subway on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. Police arrested Erika Menendez after a passerby noticed she resembled the woman in a surveillance video.   (AP Photo/New York City Police Department)
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