New York

Suspect accused of gay man’s murder may plead ‘temporary insanity’

Elliot Morales, during his arrest by New York police.

Elliot Morales, during his arrest by New York police.

NEW YORK — A judge in New York on Tuesday ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the suspect charged with murdering a gay man in New York City’s Greenwich Village in what authorities say was an anti-gay hate crime.

Elliot Morales, during his arrest by New York police.

Elliot Morales, 33, who is accused of fatally shooting 32-year-old Mark Carson on May 18, will likely plead not guilty by reason of insanity, his attorney, Kevin Michael Canfield, said after a brief hearing Tuesday.

“It could be temporary insanity,” Canfield said.

The psychiatric exam will determine whether such a defense can be made.

Authorities say Morales yelled anti-gay slurs before shooting Carson point-blank in the face in a neighborhood long known as a bedrock of the gay rights movement — the slaying occurred a few blocks from the Stonewall Inn, the site of 1969 riots that helped give rise to the gay rights movement.

Morales was soon arrested a few blocks away.

He was indicted in May on charges of murder as a hate crime, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.

Previously, Canfield implied that Morales’ anti-gay bias could the result of being sexually abused as a child.

“He was sexually abused as a child by a male authority figure which led to a lifetime of alcoholism and drug abuse,” Canfield told the New York Daily News.

Morales is due back in court Sept. 13 and is currently being held on Rikers Island without bail.

He has a previous arrest for attempted murder in 1998, police said.

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