Teens in LI stabbing plead not guilty

November 10, 2008 9:24:42 PM PST
Seven teenagers accused in the stabbing death of a Hispanic man on Long Island pleaded not guilty Monday.Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Nancy Clifford said: The teens "went out to find some Mexicans" on Saturday night when they happened upon Marcello Lucero and a companion near the Patchogue train station.

Suffolk County Police and the hate crime squad are investigating.

The men were walking around Railroad Avenue around midnight Saturday when police say the seven teens jumped out of a car, confronted and surrounded them. That's when police say Lucero was stabbed.

Police say the motive behind the crime is clear.

"These individuals told detectives that they were looking to beat someone of Latino heritage," Detective Lieutenant Jack Fitzpatrick said. "They were walking down the street and found the victim and a friend of his."

The victim's friend was able to escape unharmed. He ran to a friends house for help, and police say they returned to the scene where the victim was found bleeding. He was rushed to Brookhaven Hospital, where he died.

The seven suspects, six white and one Hispanic, are now charged in what police are treating as a hate crime. All except for one are 17. The seventh is 16.

Jeffrey Conroy is charged with first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime and assault, while the others are charged with assault. Conroy was ordered held without bail.

Newsday reports that Christopher Overton, the youngest of the group, is also awaiting sentencing for his involvement in a violent home invasion which left a man dead. He was held on $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond.

The seven suspects were identified by Newsday as:

  • 17-year-old Jeffrey Conroy, of Medford
  • 17-year-old Jordan Dasch, of Medford
  • 17-year-old Anthony Hartford, of Medford
  • 17-year-old Nicholas Hausch, of Medford
  • 17-year-old Jose Pacheco, of East Patchogue
  • 17-year-old Kevin Shea, of Medford
  • 16-year-old Christopher Overton

    Governor David Paterson released the following statement on the incident:

    "Today, I ask New Yorkers to join me in mourning the death of Marcello Lucero, a Hispanic man of Ecuadorian descent who was the fatal victim of a vicious hate crime over the weekend in Suffolk County. This disgraceful act should serve as a source of outrage for all of us.

    "Suffolk police tell us that Mr. Lucero and a friend were attacked late Saturday night by seven teenagers who were driving around looking for a Hispanic to beat up. The companion walking with Mr. Lucero escaped, but Mr. Lucero was stabbed to death. This senseless and cowardly attack by these teenagers cannot stand. I am directing State law enforcement agencies to assist Suffolk County officials in any way possible to ensure swift and certain justice for this heinous crime. Our State has zero tolerance for such bigotry and I urge authorities to move quickly to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.

    "Today, I ask that you offer your prayers to Mr. Lucero's family. I would like to extend my deepest condolences as they come to the terms with the enormous pain of this loss. Mr. Lucero's death is a jarring reminder that we must remain vigilant and continue our fight to eradicate prejudice in our words and in our actions."

    ---

    STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Jamie Roth
    WEB PRODUCED BY: Scott Curkin and Bill King


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