Teen in hate crime death says he's not racist

April 26, 2010 3:14:26 AM PDT
A white Long Island teenager convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime in the fatal stabbing of an Ecuadorean immigrant says he's not a racist or violent. Jeffrey Conroy told Newsday in Sunday editions that he feels sorry for the family of immigrant Marcelo Lucero, who authorities say was killed in an attack by a group of teens in Patchogue in November 2008.

Conroy told the newspaper in a jail interview, "I wish he wasn't dead." He did not admit guilt.

But the teenager's words come too late for Lucero's family. That's what brother Joselo Lucero said of the apology. He told Newsday that Conroy's actions prove otherwise.

The 19-year-old Conroy has a swastika tattoo, but says he is "not a white supremacist." He says he got the tattoo on a dare.

His lawyer says he plans to appeal his conviction.

The U.S. Department of Justice has said it is probing how police investigate bias attacks against Hispanics in Suffolk County.