Teen Crime Suspect to Face Murder Charges

Police say man was targeted in the killing because he was Hispanic

Seven Long Island teenagers arrested after the killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant were waiting to hear whether a grand jury upgraded charges against them. And now one of them will be charged with murder.

During the lengthy arraignment Thursday, prosecutors spelled out the details of the attack and the charges. Charges were upgraded against Jeffrey Conroy, the 17-year-old accused of delivering the fatal blow. Prosecutors said he would be charged with murder on Monday. 

Police say Marcelo Lucero was targeted in the killing on Nov. 8 as he walked down a street in Patchogue because he was Hispanic.

The other teens were charged with gang assault and with attempted assault on two others on the night of the fatal stabbing.

Nicholas Hausch, the first suspect to be arraigned was accused of bringing a BB gun, surrounding Lucero and beating him.

Prosecutors said Hausch and Jordan Dasch went looking for a Hispanic to shoot with a BB gun earlier that day. The teens planned and executed attacks as "beaner-hopping," which is what they called the activity of assaulting Hispanics, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors revealed there were four other victims of the group. Two of the victims were Hector cierra and Marlin garcia. Authorities were requesting help in locating the other victims. 

Lucero's killing has caused a torrent of emotions and calls for stiff punishment against the accused. Ecuadorean diplomats and Hispanic advocates are looking to the grand jury to return additional or upgraded charges on Thursday.

The seven high school students were being held on a preliminary charge of gang assault. The teen suspected of plunging a knife into Lucero's chest was also charged with manslaughter as a hate crime.

All of their attorneys say they are innocent.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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