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Brazilian-Born Actor Beaten to Death

Actor Tito Romalio, 58, was beaten savagely in an attack May 10. He died in the hospital on May 11. www.kino-teatr.net

A dark-skinned, Brazilian-born actor was beaten to death in St. Petersburg, but authorities have refused to classify the attack as a hate crime, saying the suspect, detained Monday, acted out of personal enmity.

Khamzya Yenikeyev, 43, a veteran of the first Chechen War, is suspected of attacking Tito Romalio, 58, on May 10, the Investigative Committee said in a statement Monday.

Romalio was repeatedly kicked and punched in the head and died in the hospital of brain injuries May 11, Interfax reported.

Yenikeyev, who worked as a security guard at a shop where Romalio was buying cigarettes at the time of the attack, fled and was apprehended in the Penza region, the Investigative Committee said.

Yenikeyev said he asked to borrow Romalio's mobile phone and assaulted the actor when he refused, investigator Sergei Kapitonov told Gzt.ru on Monday.

Yenikeyev was drunk when he attacked Romalio, Gzt.ru said, citing police sources.

But Romalio's brother told Baltinfo.ru that the actor's widow claimed that her husband had been attacked by young skinheads.

Yenikeyev faces up to 15 years in prison if charged and convicted of intentionally inflicting grave bodily harm on Romalio.

Romalio has appeared in Soviet films such as "The Amphibian Man" (1961), "Chief Chukotky" (1966) and "Dzhek Vosmyorkin, Amerikanets" (1986).

He worked as a dance instructor at a St. Petersburg school in recent years.

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