Man Charged With Greenwich Village Murder Pleads Not Guilty
A man accused of killing a gay man in Greenwich Village last month has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder as a hate crime, reports the Associated Press.
The plea comes after the release of court papers on Tuesday, which revealed that the defendant, Elliot Morales, told police shortly after the killing that he gunned down the victim in cold blood.
“Guy thought he was tough in front of his bitch so I shot him. Diagnosis is dead, doctor,” Morales, 33, told authorities after the shooting of Mark Carson May 18.
The court documents also revealed that Morales, who allegedly told police “It’s the last thing he’ll remember” after his arrest, claimed he could not recall what happened the night of the murder. He also attested that, while he identifies as straight, he holds no bias toward LGBT people.
“I am not gay,” Morales said. “I don’t have a problem with gay people. I have lots of gays in my life.”
Carson’s death occurred shortly after midnight May 18, the night Morales had caused a series of public disturbances in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Earlier in the evening, an employee of a restaurant witnessed Morales urinating outside the premises and chastised him. The defendant responded by entering the restaurant, hurling antigay epithets, and threatening to kill customers.
After exiting the restaurant, the ex-con allegedly encountered the 32-year-old victim, who was walking with a companion down Sixth Avenue. Prosecutors say that Morales followed and verbally harassed the men, before pointing a gun at Carson and shooting him in the head.
Morales is also charged with menacing a police officer, after a cop allegedly witnessed him fleeing the crime scene and asked that he stop. The court papers attest that Morales pointed the suspected murder weapon, a silver Taurus .38-caliber, at the officer before being restrained.
The incident occurred only blocks from the Stonewall Inn, where gay patrons sparked a civil rights movement by standing up to police violence over four decades ago.
“This is gonna kill my mom,” Morales said at the court proceedings. “I always hurt her and make bad decisions in life and make her cry.”