Prosecutors revealed damning evidence linking the accused killer of a Queens imam and his friend to the murder weapon before the suspect was jailed Tuesday without bail.
The prosecutor also cited extensive video tracing the suspect’s escape route from the murder scene to Brooklyn — and Morel’s admission that he was at the intersection where cops say he plowed into a bicyclist with his SUV.
Suspected killer of Queens imam and friend charged with murder
Minutes earlier, McCormick said, the suspect gunned down Imam Maulama Akonjee and his pal Thara Uddin as they walked side by side on a Queens street Saturday. The victims had just finished praying at a nearby mosque.
“This was a most horrendous and despicable act that can only be described as a cold-blooded, premeditated assassination,” said McCormick in successfully arguing against bail.
Defense lawyer Leonard Ressler said his client made no admissions.
“He said, ‘I didn’t do anything,’ and ‘Get me bail,’” Ressler said.
Morel was charged with first-degree murder in the killings of mosque leader Akonjee, 55, and Uddin, 64. If convicted, he faces a sentence of life without parole.
About 20 friends and relatives of the victims filled the court Tuesday, many looking for answers that the brief hearing could not provide.
Among those still-unanswered questions was the motive for the double homicide. A police source said the accused shooter’s girlfriend was unable to offer an explanation for the killings.
“I wanted to ask the shooter, ‘Why did you kill my innocent father?’ ” said Saif Akonjee, son of the slain imam, via a translator. “I lost my father. He was a good guy. I don’t know why (Morel) killed him. I want justice.”
Mashuk Uddin, the younger brother of the other victim in the weekend killing, said his sister-in-law has not recovered from the shock and grief.
“Very sick,” he said. “When I brought my brother’s body to the house, she saw him and fell down. Five people carried her. She was shaking. She cannot open her mouth.”
Although Morel, 35, of Brooklyn, professed innocence to his lawyer, McCormick insisted on his culpability in detail.
Police sources said Morel’s crude attempt at hiding the Taurus revolver involved carving a hole in the plasterboard wall of his basement apartment.
Once the gun was inside, he used screws to hastily reinstall the piece he cut from the wall. He made no attempt to hide the obvious cuts in the wall, sources said.
The gun was old and rusty, and was empty when found by the cops, the sources said. A dozen bullets were recovered inside a box meant to hold 50 bullets.