Elliot Morales, who reportedly laughed as he told police, "I shot him in the face," is charged with a hate crime murder and is defending himself.
The summer of 2013 was one of hate crime violence and murder of New York City's LGBT population. It seemed as though every few days brought another hate crime, another assault, another murder. Mark David Carson, who was 32 when he was shot and killed in Greenwich Village just after midnight on May 18, wasÂ the fifth victim of a violent anti-gay hate crime in New York City in just twelve days.
Carson's cold-blooded murder drew immediate reaction from the LGBT community, with a vigil and march to honor his memory and demand greater protection from the NYPD.
The man accused of the hate crime murder is Elliot Morales, whom police captured shortly after Carson was gunned down. He is now on trial, defending himself, after rejecting four court-appointed attorneys.
â€œI am not a bigot of any typeâ€ Morales told jurors Monday, the New York Times reports. â€œWhat happened was not an act of intent or hate on my part.â€
â€œI am a human being like everyone else,â€ he said. â€œI made my share of mistakes. That doesnâ€™t make me a bad person.â€
Morales did not know Carson. He ran into him on the street, reportedly telling his victim and Carson's best friend, Danny Robinson,Â "You two look like gay wrestlers," and calling them "faggots."
The Times reports Carson and Robinson "were not going to let the comments stand, Mr. Robinson testified in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Monday."
"They followed the person as he rounded the corner onto West Eighth Street.Â The man, Elliot Morales, was standing in the shadow of a shuttered bookstore, displaying a silver pistol in his right hand, Mr. Robinson said. Mr. Carson froze, he recalled. Too angry to be scared, Mr. Robinson said he kept talking to Mr. Morales even as he was dialing the police on his cellphone."
â€œI was saying, â€˜Why do you have to do this?â€™â€ he said. â€œâ€˜Are you going to shoot us out here in front of all these people? Put the gun down.â€™â€
Mr. Morales then remarked that his gun did not make much noise, Mr. Robinson recalled. He raised the weapon and fired into Mr. Carsonâ€™s face, Mr. Robinson testified. Mr. Carson jerked and fell lifeless into the street, he said. He said that he never saw the wound, but he remembered the trickle of blood running down the street, growing thicker, a small crimson flood.
If convicted, Morales, who served 11 years for armed robbery, could spend the rest of his life in prison.Â