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Justice for Mark Carson: Elliot Morales Convicted of Hate Crime Murder

elliott morales
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Murder as a hate crime carries a sentence of 20 years to life, five years more than a second-degree murder conviction.

On Wednesday, a Manhattan jury convicted Elliot Morales of murder as a hate crime in the 2013 shooting death of Mark Carson.

Related | Mark Carson Murder Suspect: I'm Not a Bigot, Meet My Trans Ex-Lover

During the two-week trial, in which Morales represented himself, the 36-year-old Manhattan native claimed he had acted in self-defense and denied being homophobic.

"I just reacted," he said in his closing argument. "This was not a deliberate act."

However, prior to the shooting, Morales--who had been drinking heavily all day-- had threatened a bartender with a gun, using anti-gay slurs. In addition, several witnesses saw Morales shoot Carson in the face after an argument in which he called Carson and his friend Danny Robinson "faggots" and "gay wrestlers."

Morales, who had previously served 11 years in prison for armed robbery, also showed no remorse when police picked him up minutes later, saying, "I shot him because he tried to act tough," then laughing maniacally and adding, "Diagnosis dead, Doctor."

To counter accusations of his bigotry, Morales said he was bisexual and cited past sexual relationships with trans women, even calling one of his ex-lovers to the stand.

But lead prosecutor Shannon Lucey was having none of this. She argued that Morales kept his dalliances with his trans lovers a secret out of self-loathing--self-loathing which manifested itself in his encounter with Carson and Robinson.

"This was bigotry and this was unjustifiable rage," Lucey said in her summation. "The defendant was able to shoot Mark Carson over nothing because Mark Carson was nothing to the defendant. Mark Carson was nothing to the defendant but a subhuman fag."

[h/t] NYT

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