NEW YORK — The attorney for the man accused in the murder of a gay man in New York’s Greenwich Village on Saturday says his client is not guilty, and implied that his anti-gay bias is the result of being sexually abused as a child.
Kevin Michael Canfield, the attorney for Elliot Morales, appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday to receive notification of a grand jury indictment against his client.
Morales is accused of fatally wounding Mark Carson, 32. Morales allegedly hurled homophobic slurs at Carson before firing a single shot to his head.
Canfied said Thursday that Morales is not guilty of the slaying and is “devastated by the charges,” reported The New York Daily News.
“He didn’t murder anybody,” Canfield said, suggesting there were other factors at play.
“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 Daily News, adding, “It’s a terrible tragedy.”
On Saturday, seconds before opening fire in the lively Village streets just after midnight, police say Morales followed Carson and a companion through the Village, asking if they “want to die here,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Police said Morales then 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.
Morales was soon arrested a few blocks away. He has been charged with murder as a hate crime.