A Brooklyn man appeared in court on Tuesday and denied killing a Muslim cleric and his assistant on a street in Queens last Saturday.
Oscar Morel, 35, faces up to life in prison without parole if he is convicted of killing Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64, in a brazen daylight attack on Saturday that horrified the neighborhood's Bangladeshi community.
Morel, who was shackled at the hands and feet and wore a tan button-down shirt with black pants, was arraigned at Queens Criminal Court on one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
"It's the most horrendous and despicable act that can only be described as a cold-blooded and premeditated assassination," prosecutor Peter McCormack told the court as relatives of the victims looked on.
"The defendant ran up behind both of them and pumped numerous bullets into them striking them both in the head ... leaving them lying in the street mortally wounded," he said.
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