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New charges against hate crime suspect

February 2, 2009 1:55:22 PM PST
A New York teenager awaiting trial in the hate crime killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant is now accused of taking part in other attacks on Hispanics. Jeffrey Conroy is charged with murdering Marcelo Lucero. On Monday, he pleaded not guilty to a new indictment.

Conroy and six fellow students are charged with assaulting Hispanics over 14 months in the Patchogue-Medford area of eastern Long Island.

Conroy's attorney says his client is innocent.

Five of the teens pleaded not guilty last week; the seventh is due in court Tuesday.

All previously pleaded not guilty to hate crime and other charges in the Nov. 8 stabbing.

Lucero's death has prompted a U.S. Justice Department investigation. The teens reportedly told authorities that targeting Hispanics was a regular activity.

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