On Wednesday, a bisexual man, Elliot Moralas, charged with shooting and killing an unarmed gay man, was found guilty of murder as a hate crime. The crime occurred in New York’s Greenwich Village, a well-established LGBT mecca, in May 2013.
“Motivated by irrational rage, the defendant targeted and executed a defenseless young man based on his sexual orientation after taunting and insulting the victim and his companion,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement.
Morales, who represented himself, tried to convince the jury that the killing could not be a hate crime, because he was bisexual himself. He had a transgender woman testify that she had been his lover in the past.
When he presented his closing argument, he even cried and said that he was not a bigot and had committed the murder in self-defense.
Police said the victim, Mark Carson, was with his roommate on May 18th just after midnight and the two were standing outside of a pizza shop. Once Morales saw them, he began yelling out gay slurs and making fun of them men calling them “gay wrestlers.” Carson and his friend confronted Morales and followed him around a corner. At that point, Morales took out a gun and shot Carson in the face.
When police arrived and arrested Morales, he began laughing and joking about the killing yelling out, “Diagnosis dead, doctor!” He even stuck out his tongue.
When the defendant took the stand in his own defense, he said “I thought he was going to take something out and shoot me with it,” Morales testified. “I thought one or maybe both of them had a firearm. So I kind of raised the firearm and turned away and shot it at the same time.”
In the closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Shannon Lucey said that Morales was internally conflicted about his own sexual identity and felt ashamed. He acted out as a result of this own self-loathing and, on May 18th, and Carson was the innocent target of Morales’ rage.