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Man faces hate charge in New York slaying

NEW YORK — The man who police say hurled homophobic slurs at a gay man on a Manhattan street before firing a single fatal shot to his head has been charged with murder as a hate crime.

Elliot Morales appeared Sunday in Manhattan Criminal Court. He also was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.

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Authorities say Morales used a revolver to kill 32-year-old Mark Carson early Saturday as he walked with a companion in Greenwich Village.

Ben Petok, a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney, says no plea was recorded for Morales. He is being held without bail, and his next court appearance will be Thursday.

On Saturday, in the lively Village streets, police say Morales followed Carson and his friend and asked if they wanted to die seconds before opening fire. Police chased the suspect and made an arrest as scores of bar patrons looked on in shock.

“This clearly looks to be a hate crime,” police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at a news conference Saturday.

Kelley noted that there had been a rise in bias-related crimes in New York City this year: 22 compared with 13 during the same period last year.

In just the past three weeks, there have been five attacks directed at gay men, including a vicious assault on a gay couple outside Madison Square Garden on May 5. Last week, a 35-year-old man told police he was beaten up and heard antigay words after leaving a bar on Christopher Street.

The Saturday shooting occurred just blocks from the Stonewall Inn, among the most important landmarks of the gay liberation struggles.

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