Elliot Morales, the 36-year-old Manhattan native who was convicted of murder as a hate crime in March for the 2013 shooting death of Mark Carson, was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison on Tuesday.
The recent events in Orlando may have had a hand in Morales's sentencing, as noted by Justice A. Kirke Bartley, Jr., who called Morales "something worthy of a character in a Stephen King novel--in short a monster."
"I can't help but perceive or observe the parallel tragedy in Orlando," Justice Bartley said prior to imposing the sentence in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. "That parallel is revealed in hatred, self-loathing, fear and death."
"Mr. Morales, yours is a legacy of death and fear, nothing more nothing less," he added.
Morales had defended himself in the two week trial, denying that his violent act was a hate crime since he himself is bisexual, something he maintained in court on Tuesday, calling Carson's murder a "tragic accident."
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"It is beyond my comprehension how someone like myself who happens to be bisexual and part of the LGBT community can be falsely accused and then convicted of a hate crime," Morales said.
But Morales's behavior before and after encountering Carson and his friend Danny Robinson the night of May 18, 2013 proved his ultimate undoing. Earlier in the evening, Morales had threatened a bartender with a gun, using anti-gay slurs, then, several witnesses attest to Morales shooting Carson in the face after an argument in which he called Carson and Robinson "faggots" and "gay wrestlers."
"Any life lost to gun violence is a tragedy for our city," Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said in a statement. "But homophobic, hate-fueled incidents like this one are particularly unconscionable. As we mourn the lives lost in Orlando, we remain committed to doing everything we can to combat and prevent crimes against LGBT New Yorkers."