Lucero Witness: "I Heard the Blood Rushing from My Friend"

Heartbreaking testimony in Long Island hate crime slaying

By Greg Cergol
|  Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010  |  Updated 2:30 PM EDT
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Lucero Witness: "I Heard the Blood Rushing from My Friend"

Marcelo Lucero

It was a moment Angel Loja won't soon forget.

"I heard the blood rushing from my friend," Loja told a hushed Suffolk county courtroom. "It sounded like water from a faucet."

The Patchogue man testified Wednesday about the murder of childhood friend Marcelo Lucero in November, 2008. Jeffrey Conroy, 19, is facing murder charges for allegedly stabbing Lucero. Loja testified that he was walking with Lucero near the Patchogue train station when they were surrounded by seven teens.

Loja said the seven looked "furious," and "didn't have good intentions."

The group had set out to attack Latinos that night, prosecutors have claimed.  So far, four of the teens have already pleaded guilty and may testify against Conroy.

Although Loja, 37, described the teens as "animals" who beat and kicked Lucero, he did not testify about actually seeing the stabbing and he never identified Conroy as the man with the knife.

Loja also confirmed that prosecutors paid him up to six hundred dollars a month after the killing.

The Ecuador native testified he could not find work because of his connection to the Lucero killing and would have had to return to his homeland without the aid. Conroy's attorney has hinted this aid taints his testimony.

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