Man pleads not guilty in killing New York imam, aide near mosque on Aug 13 | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Man pleads not guilty in killing New York imam, aide near mosque on Aug 13

world Updated: Sep 02, 2016 17:14 IST
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Suspect Oscar Morel appears at the Queens Criminal Court for his alleged involvement in the murder of Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin in New York on August 13. (Reuiers file photo)

A man accused of shooting dead an imam and his assistant as they left a New York City mosque pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Thirty-six-year-old Oscar Morel entered the pleas on Thursday to charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the Aug. 13 attack.

On August 13, Morel approached 55-year-old Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee and his aide Thara Miah, 64, from behind and shot both of them in the head near a mosque in Queens, the prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Michael Schwed questioned how authorities have handled the investigation, saying witnesses couldn’t identify Morel in a lineup. Schwed says he’s confident he can prove his client is innocent.

Morel is due back in court on October 18.