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Suspect Charged With Hate Crime For Allegedly Throwing Fatal Union Square Punch

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A suspect who police say punched a 62-year-old Brooklyn man in Union Square Park after threatening to "punch the first white man" has been indicted on a charge of manslaughter as a hate crime.

The upgraded charge against Lashawn Marten, 31, was unsealed Tuesday. He faces up to life in prison if convicted. A call to his lawyer for comment wasn't immediately returned.

Marten was also ordered to undergo a psychiatric exam to determine if he's fit for trial.

He was arrested last month after beating Jeffrey Babbitt into coma, police said. The Sheepshead Bay man died days later from cardiac arrest.

"He said 'the next white person who walks by I'm going to [expletive],'" a female witness said shortly after the incident. "His fist went in and the man's head bobbed and he hit the ground, and you could hear his skull hitting the ground."

Babbitt is white. Marten is black.

In an earlier jailhouse interview, Marten told the New York Daily News he's not racist because he's punched people of various races.

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