Man Accused Of Killing Imam, Assistant In Queens Makes Court Appearance

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Family and friends of shooting victims Imam Maulama Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin were back in court to face the man accused of killing them — 36-year-old Oscar Morel.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Morel’s attorney said his client believes he will be acquitted.

“There is a positive development for him. They apparently did DNA on the gun that was found and compared it to his DNA, and there’s no match,” attorney Michael Schwed said.

Police have not confirmed that DNA claim, and a law enforcement source says there was insufficient DNA for analysis.

Investigators said the .38 caliber revolver was found stashed in the wall of morel’s apartment along with clothes they believe he was wearing at the time of the shooting.

Imam Akonjee’s son Saif said he still believes Morel murdered his father.

“I think this the right man,” he said.

More than 2 months have passed since the men were shot to death as they walked home from morning prayer on Liberty Ave in Ozone Park, Queens. The execution was caught by surveillance cameras.

On the day of the funeral Mayor Bill de Blasio promised increased police presence in the predominately Muslim neighborhood and outside of their mosques.

“You will see in the Muslim communities in our city. The NYPD will be there in support of the community,” the mayor said.

Some residents say that police surge has faded.

“First two weeks, the police presence is everywhere. But now, they disappear,” Bazlur Rahman said.

In response to an inquiry about the apparent decrease in patrols, the mayor’s office referred CBS2 to the NYPD. CBS2 was still awaiting a response on Tuesday afternoon.

Some community activists believe police are doing all they can.

“We are in New York City. We cannot have police officers guarding someone or one particular place 24 hours a day, you know what I mean?” Ruhal Abdin said.

Members of Imam Akonjee’s mosque said they’re hoping the city will address their concerns when representatives from the mayor’s office meet with them at a community meeting at 6:30 Tuesday night, at PS64 in Ozone Park.

Morel is being held without bail. He will be back in court on November 30.


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