Seconds after allegedly plunging a knife into Marcelo Lucero, Jeffrey Conroy appeared to realize what he had just done, a Suffolk County homicide detective testified Monday at Conroy's murder trial in Riverhead.
"Oh --- " Conroy told friend and co-defendant Nicholas Hausch, according to Det. John McLeer. "I stabbed him."
McLeer, the lead investigator on the case, is the last witness to be called by prosecutors in the trial of Conroy, 19, of Medford, who is accused of murder and manslaughter in the November 2008 slaying of Lucero near the Patchogue Long Island Rail Road station.
McLeer testified that, during a 40-minute interview, Conroy was calm and "matter of fact" as he recalled the night he and six friends went looking to assault Hispanic immigrants. Conroy told McLeer his friends began the fight with Lucero and a second man, Angel Loja. Lucero took off his belt and began swinging it around trying to ward off the teens as they surrounded him, according to McLeer.
"I didn't blame the Spanish guy for swinging at us. He was just trying to defend himself. It was obvious he wanted to get . . . out of there," Conroy said, according to McLeer's testimony. "But we didn't back down."
When Lucero's belt hit Conroy in the head, Conroy took out the black-handled knife he had carried with him for months and went toward him, McLeer said.
"I continued to run toward him and stabbed him once in the shoulder or chest," Conroy said, according to his written statement to police, which was introduced into evidence. "The physical altercation was over after I stabbed him."
Conroy went on to tell McLeer about how he tried to wash the blood off his knife in a puddle, but then gave it to a police officer who arrived minutes later and told the officer what he had done. Conroy also drew a sketch of the crime scene that included a stick figure person and the words "got stabbed by me," according to McLeer.
In his cross examination of McLeer, defense attorney William Keahon, of Hauppauge, focused on injuries to Conroy's hands and knuckles. McLeer said he accepted Conroy's explanation that he received the injuries while play-fighting with a friend earlier.
Keahon also said that his client's words suggested that the stabbing was an accident.
"Didn't that in any way mean to you that it wasn't intentional? 'Oh ---?' " Keahon asked McLeer.
"I believe a person's actions speak their intent," McLeer said.
The trial continues Tuesday.