BREAKING NEWS: Jeffrey Conroy's track record of targeting "Mexicans" and his confession to police that he and his friends would sometimes go "Beaner Stomping" made it clear to jurors that the killing of Marcelo Lucero was a Hate Crime, the jurors said. Conroy, the Long Island man accused of stabbing and killing an Ecuadorean immigrant in a racially motivated attack was convicted today of Manslaughter as a hate crime, a less serious crime than the initial Murder charge — saving him from spending the rest of his life behind bars, a much shorter sentence then he inflicted on Marcelo.
Seventeen months after the stabbing in 2008 and 24 miles from the parking lot in Patchogue where police found a 370-foot trail of Marcelo's blood leading to his stabbed body, the jury forewoman rose in State Supreme Court to read the verdict, ending four days of deliberations. Conroy was found guilty of first-degree Manslaughter as a Hate Crime and Gang Assault in connection with the death of Marcelo, and guilty of attempted assaults on three other Latino men they "Beaner Stomped." Conroy was acquitted of the most serious of the 20 charges against him, second-degree murder as a Hate Crime. On the Manslaughter charge alone, Conroy faces a minimum of eight years and a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on May 26. As the verdict was read, the courtroom was virtually silent. When Conroy sat down, he bowed his head for a few moments, long forgetting his words to his buddies after the murder "What if I get away with it."
The Lucero family and their supporters, including a representative of the Ecuadorean government’s National Department of Migrants, expressed confidence in recent days that the prosecution had indeed proven that Mr. Conroy was guilty of murder and that justice would be served.
Though she was devastated by her son's murder and the subsequent trial, Marcelo's Christian Mother still found it in her heart to forgive her son's murderer. Speaking slowly and in Spanish, her eyes fixed, Rosario Lucero said Monday she will always carry the pain of having lost a son but she forgives those involved in his fatal stabbing.
Governor David Patterson announced the following statement: "Today, Jeffrey Conroy was found guilty of manslaughter as a hate crime for the fatal attack against Marcelo Lucero. Just hours after the news of the crime broke, it became clear that the impetus for this heinous act was nothing less than prejudice, revealing an anti-immigrant sentiment that threatens not only those who speak another language or look differently, but all New Yorkers. Today's verdict makes clear that New York has no tolerance for such intolerance; acts committed in the name of hatred will be fully prosecuted. However, our battle against bigotry continues. We must continue our work to fight discrimination - whether motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. I remain committed to working with my partners in government and law enforcement officials to ensure swift and certain justice."
While the jury rightly found Conroy guilty of a serious crime, I am awaiting the sentencing. This was a particularly heinous crime, one initiated by the Caucasian Crew seeking Latinos in a Latino neighborhood to "Beaner Stomp." Conroy should have been found guilty of the murder he confessed to committing. This was a serious Hate Crime, perpetrated by HATE and RACISM. The sentence will provide all observers with an example of what sentence they will receive if they even consider committing another Hate Crime of this nature. The Sentence should deter future such events from happening again.