West Village Hate-Crime Murder Suspect Laughed and Bragged to Cops, Prosecutors Say

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Close up of a semi-automatic pistol
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The suspect in Friday's alleged anti-gay murder in the West Village did not exercise his right to remain silent, prosecutors said in court on Sunday, instead laughing when police restrained him on the ground and telling them, "I shot him in the face." Elliot Morales, 33, was charged with murder as a hate crime, possession of a weapon, and menacing, for allegedly following two gay men and hurling homophobic slurs before shooting one in the cheek and killing him. Mark Carson, 32, was pronounced dead at Beth Israel. Morales, meanwhile, is being held without bail, and the friends he was with before the shooting are cooperating with police.

The last few months have been particularly bad for hate crimes in New York, with 22 anti-gay incidents reported compared to 13 the same time last year, the New York Daily News reports (The New York Post cited 23 this year). And even the disturbing laughing has come up recently, as alleged subway pusher Erika Menendez reportedly "cackled" in court at the end of December.