Expert: DNA on knife used to kill Lucero was victim's

Prosecutors say this knife was used to stab Prosecutors say this knife was used to stab Marcelo Lucero. (April 1, 2010) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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Samples taken from bloodstains on the blade of a saw-toothed knife prosecutors say was used to kill an Ecuadorean immigrant in Patchogue matched his DNA, a Suffolk County blood expert testified Wednesday.

Robert Baumann, a forensic scientist in the Suffolk County crime laboratory, said in a Riverhead courtroom that DNA taken from the knife matched that of the dead man, Marcelo Lucero, 37.

Lucero was fatally stabbed on Nov. 8, 2008, after a group of seven teens accosted him. His blood was also found on a gray tank top and black-and-gray sweatshirt worn that night by Jeffrey Conroy, 19, of Medford, officials said. Conroy is charged with fatally stabbing Lucero.

For the first time during the trial, prosecutor Megan O'Donnell used blood evidence and DNA to link Lucero's death to Conroy. The crime lab did not identify Conroy's DNA on the knife.

Retired Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Stuart Dawson also testified, telling the jury on cross-examination by Conroy's defense attorney that quick action to stem Lucero's falling blood volume might have helped save him from the stab wound that ultimately killed him.

Dawson said when the knife penetrated Lucero, there was "some kind of twisting or turning." He said there were wounds on Lucero's lips and said one of the injuries "looks like a punch."

An autopsy, Dawson said, showed a stab wound "just below the right collarbone." He said the knife nicked an artery and a vein.

Dawson told Conroy's defense attorney, William Keahon, that the knife did not penetrate more than an inch and went in sideways. Dawson also said the blade did not penetrate Lucero's chest cavity.

Dawson said movement by Lucero or by his stabber could have affected the knife's path.

Keahon, trying to prove better emergency medical care might have saved Lucero, asked Dawson whether faster action to increase his falling blood volume could have helped. Dawson said yes. An emergency medical technician testified earlier in the trial he took Lucero in an ambulance to the hospital but could not give him IV fluids because his certification for doing that had lapsed.

Dawson said in such cases it's important to "stop the bleeding and replace the volume." But he acknowledged he is not an expert in emergency medicine.

O'Donnell then asked Dawson about Lucero's pulse rate, a very low 46 - normal ranges from 60 to 100 - at 12:12 a.m., and whether much could have been done.

At that point, Dawson said, "It's uncertain whether he can be salvaged." With Carl MacGowan

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