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Vol. 74/No. 17      May 3, 2010

Thug gets slap on wrist
for killing immigrant
(front page)
NEW YORK—The man charged with killing Ecuadoran immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, Long Island, was found guilty of manslaughter as a hate crime April 19. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of second-degree murder.

“This was a slap on the wrist,” Walter Sinche, president of the Alianza Ecuatoriana Internacional who attended the trial, told the Militant. “It shows the way the legal system works in the United States. It was a message to the community” that the lives of immigrants are worth less.

Jeffrey Conroy, who stabbed Lucero Nov. 8, 2008, faces eight years to a maximum of 25 years in prison when sentencing takes place May 26. If he had been convicted of the murder charge the maximum punishment was life in prison.

A gang of seven Patchogue-Medford High School students had attacked Lucero, a dry-cleaning worker, and Angel Loja, a construction worker, during a night of what the gang called “beaner hopping” or “Mexican hopping.”

Loja testified in court that the thugs called him and Lucero “Mexicans” and “illegals.” One of the attackers said, “You come to this country to take our money from us.”

“This is not the charge we wanted,” Joselo Lucero, Marcelo’s brother, told a press conference, although he hoped that the verdict meant “an end to [immigrant] hunting, at least for now.”

Immigrant rights groups on Long Island have criticized the police for failing to act to investigate numerous previous assaults against Latinos.

In the course of the trial it was revealed that it took nearly 40 minutes from the time a 911 call came in reporting the stabbing, until an ambulance finally brought Lucero to the hospital, just three miles away.

Conroy’s defense lawyers tried to blame Lucero for the stabbing because he defended himself by removing his belt and swinging it to get his attackers to back off.

Lucero could have left, Conroy claimed on the witness stand, “but he chased us” after being punched in the face by one of the thugs.

After the verdict, the Lucero family visited the spot where Marcelo was killed.

“This is the place where my brother broke the rules [of putting up with a beating and keeping his mouth shut] and defended himself,” Joselo Lucero told El Diario. “It didn’t matter how many they were, he didn’t want to be treated like he was nothing, but to be treated as a human being.”
Related articles:
March on May 1 to legalize immigrants
Partial list of May 1 actions for immigrant rights  
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