Attorney Makes Self Defense Claim in L.I. Hate Crime Slay

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010  |  Updated 7:16 PM EDT
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Attorney Makes Self Defense Claim in L.I. Hate Crime Slay

Marcelo Lucero

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The defense lawyer for the accused killer of an Ecuadorean immigrant on Long Island in 2008 has asserted the victim's own actions may have played a role in his death.

It's the first hint of a "self-defense" claim in the Marcelo Lucero hate crime murder case.

Lucero was killed in November, 2008 on a street in PatchogueJeffrey Conroy, one of seven teens accused of setting out to hunt Latinos that night, is now on trial for stabbing Lucero.

Conroy's lawyer, however, is now trying to paint a different picture.

At one point, an angry Lucero actually chased the teens, said attorney William Keahon.  Keahon's words represent the first "self-defense" assertion from Conroy's camp.

Inside court, a childhood friend who was with Lucero the night he was killed described the teens as "furious" during the initial confrontation.

"They shouted, f----ing Mexicans!  F---ing illegals!  Get out of this country," said Angel Loja, an undocumented immigrant who had known Lucero since they were boys in Ecuador.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Loja did, however, remember vividly watching his friend dying from a chest wound.

"I heard blood rushing from him and it sounded like water from a faucet," Loja said.

Loja later 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 money.

Conroy's attorney has hinted the prosecution's payments taint Loja's testimony.

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