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.