Lucero brother: Conroy apology no comfort for slaying

"I am not a violent person," Jeffrey Conroy

"I am not a violent person," Jeffrey Conroy said during an interview at the Suffolk County jail where he has been since being convicted of first-degree manslaugher as a hate crime. (April 23, 2010) (Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa)

Jeffrey Conroy may have said he is sorry for Marcelo Lucero's family, but the Ecuadorean immigrant's brother said Sunday that sentiment is no comfort.

"It's too late for him to say that. Too late," said Joselo Lucero, who reacted strongly to the first published interview with the young man convicted of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime in the stabbing death of his brother.

Conroy, 19, told Newsday he was sorry Marcelo Lucero was dead, though he did not admit guilt. Conroy said unequivocally: "I am not a racist. I am not a violent person. I am not a white supremacist."

But Joselo Lucero said Conroy's actions - from participating in harassing Latino men to his swastika tattoo to the stabbing itself - proved otherwise.

"The facts are there and they show the opposite of what he says now," Joselo said.

Authorities say Marcelo Lucero and his friend, another immigrant, were attacked by seven teenagers, most of them white, on Nov. 8, 2008, near the Patchogue train station. Lucero fought back and Conroy stabbed him, authorities said. Conroy, after initially admitting his involvement, backed off the confession at trial, blaming another young man.

A Suffolk jury last week acquitted Conroy of the most serious charge - second-degree murder as a hate crime - but convicted him of manslaughter as a hate crime, in Lucero's death, and second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, in attacks on three other Hispanic men. He faces 8 to 25 years in prison when State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle sentences him May 26.

Joselo Lucero said Conroy, who called his swastika tattoo "a joke," should have had the emblem removed long ago.

He would not say how long he wants Conroy to spend in prison, saying only the sentence should "send the right message" about hate crimes.

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