The family of an elderly man who was fatally beaten in the East Village this past Friday want his death to be treated as a hate crime. Ruan Wen Hui, 68, was allegedly beaten to death by Jamie Pugh, 20, around 8:45 p.m. Friday night on East 6th Street near Avenue D. “Our whole family is in severe and deep pain,” Michelle Ruan, a daughter of victim Wen Hui Ruan, said through a translator according tot he News. "We want the suspect to have the proper kind of penalty so that we feel safe to walk on the street. We demand a life [sentence]."
Pugh's mother, Charlotte Pugh-Douglas, said in court yesterday that someone had slipped Molly into her son's drink at a party Friday evening. “He wasn’t in his right state of mind,” she said, adding that her son didn't remember the attack, and only became aware of it when a friend showed him the surveillance footage and noted the attacker looked like him. "When he saw the video, it killed him inside. It hurt him. He was crying all weekend. He knows it’s him. He just didn’t remember."
Pugh's defense lawyer tried to distance his client from her claims, saying she didn't have firsthand knowledge of the attack, or her son's sobriety: "She’s speaking as a panicked mother who’s saying that if this [charge] is in fact true, then someone must have drugged him, because that’s not who her son is," attorney Frank Rothman said. Pugh has been charged with second degree murder, assault, and robbery.
After releasing a blurry photo of Pugh over the weekend, graphic surveillance video of the incident leaked out. Police were tipped off to Pugh's location by someone in the neighborhood Tuesday night who saw that video. "We would especially like to thank the citizens who called in phone tips," Ruan added. "We hope this case will move quickly through the court system and the guilty are punished to the [fullest] extent of the law."