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Man pleads not guilty in NYC hate-crime shooting of gay man in Greenwich Village

BY TOM HAYS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK -- A man accused of fatally shooting a gay man walking with a companion in New York City's Greenwich Village afterward claimed that he opened fire because the victim "thought he was tough in front of his bitch," prosecutors said in court papers Tuesday.

Edward Morales also allegedly boasted to police "It's the last thing he'll remember," shortly after his arrest in the hate crime case. In later statements, Morales insisted he couldn't remember what happened and doesn't carry a bias against gays.

"I am not gay," he said, according to court papers. "I don't have a problem with gay people. I have lots of gays in my life."

He added: "This is gonna kill my mom. ... I always hurt her and make bad decisions in life and make her cry."

The purported statements were filed with the court after the 33-year-old Morales pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder as a hate crime in the shooting of Mark Carson. He also is charged with criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.

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