On Wednesday afternoon, 20-year-old Jamie Pugh was charged with assault, robbery, and murder in the death of Ruan Wen Hui, the 68-year-old who was beaten and left on the street near his East Village home over the weekend. Shortly before Pugh’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, his mother, Charlotte Pugh-Douglas, told DNAinfo that her son doesn’t recall the brutal incident, which was captured by a surveillance camera, because he had taken MDMA beforehand.
“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,” she said. “I know my son is going to get a long time in jail. I just hope he gets a chance to come home some day,” she added. Meanwhile, though investigators believe that the attack happened after Ruan resisted Pugh’s attempt to rob him, Ruan’s family wants the authorities to look into the possibility that the beating was a hate crime. “We want the suspect to have the proper kind of penalty so that we feel safe to walk on the street,” his daughter, Wen Hui Ruan, told the court. “We demand a life sentence.”