The man who was found guilty of fatally shooting a 32-year-old gay man in Greenwich Village has been sentenced to 40 years-to-life in state prison. Elliot Morales, 36, was convicted in March of killing 32-year-old Mark Carson in May 2013; he was found guilty of murder as a hate crime, menacing a police officer and possession of weapon.
"I can’t help but perceive or observe the parallel to the tragedy in Orlando," Justice A. Kirke Bartley said to Morales at his sentencing today. "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."
“I’m really, really, really, truly sorry for what happened,” Morales said during sentencing, calling the incident a "tragic accident." He went on to rant about how the EMTs at the scene were really to blame: "You can see these EMT workers allowed him (to) and let him die," he said.
"It is beyond my comprehension how someone like myself who happens to be bisexual and part of the L.G.B.T. community can be falsely accused and then convicted of a hate crime," he added.
Morales had been acting as his own attorney during the trial for the May 18th, 2013 incident. Carson and his friend Danny Robinson, whom Morales cross-examined on the stand, were walking on West 8th Street that evening when a drunken Morales allegedly initiated hostilities by saying to them, "What are you, gay wrestlers?" and calling them "fag**ts" and "queers."
After a heated exchange, Morales walked around the corner onto West 8th Street and the two men followed. Seconds later, Morales took out a Taurus .38-caliber gun and shot Carson in the head. An officer saw Morales running and was able to tackle him on West 3rd Street.
Witnesses testified that Morales had been running amok earlier that evening before the fatal confrontation, with one local restaurant manager testifying that Morales had urinated on the front window of his restaurant, yelled homophobic slurs at his staff, and threatened a bartender with his gun.
Jurors were shown footage of Morales in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, in which Morales allegedly confessed to fatally shooting Carson on camera and laughed gleefully about it. "I fucking shot him dead!" Morales can be heard saying to cops in the clip while laughing to himself. "Diagnosis dead, doctor!...They don't teach you that in the academy, right?"
During the trial, Morales also called his transgender ex-lover to the stand to testify on his behalf that he is not homophobic. The woman testified that she and Morales had a sexual relationship on and off for 10 years after meeting Morales on the web. "I was looking online. My heading was clearly—'transsexual woman looking for a man,'" she told the jury.
"He got what he deserved," Carson's aunt Florine Bumpars, told reporters after the sentencing. "He just had to say something and that's what he said. If he was sorry he would have never did it."
“Any life lost to gun violence is a tragedy for our City,” said District Attorney Vance. “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. We must never allow violence and hate to undermine the progress we have made as a city, a state, and a nation. New Yorkers of all sexual orientations and gender expressions have an inviolable right to walk safely through our communities without being taunted, shot, or killed. I hope that this sentence provides some measure of comfort to the victim’s loved ones."