A man may face life in prison – after he was found guilty of a hate crime murder in New York.
Mark Carson, 32, was shot dead in New York’s West Village in 2013, after a man approached him and his best friend and began spouting homophobic abuse.
Carson, who was openly gay and ran a gelato kiosk in Grand Central Station, was branded a “faggot” and a “queer” before the assailant shot him in the face at point-blank range.
36-year-old Elliot Morales was this week found guilty of murder over the shooting, which was captured on CCTV. Morales was convicted on a hate crime second-degree murder charge.
The increased hate crime charge carries a maximum prison term of life without parole – meaning Morales could be jailed for the rest of his life over the killing.
Morales previously admitted to drinking heavily prior to the shooting, but claimed in court that he had acted in self-defence. He also claimed he couldn’t have been motivated by Mr Carson’s sexuality because he himself is has slept with transgender women.
He insisted: “I, Elliot Morales, am not a bigot. I don’t hate gays.”
However, the eight-person jury was unconvinced, finding him guilty of all charges.
According to the New York Times, lead prosecutor Shannon Lucey said: “This was bigotry, and this was unjustifiable rage.
“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.”
“The defendant is self-loathing; he wants no one to know or to see who he is.
“He has a lot of self-loathing issues, and that came out when he saw Mark Carson and Danny Robinson being who they are.”