Lucero's mother goes to Conroy trial for first time

Rosario Lucero's son, Marcelo, was stabbed to death

Rosario Lucero's son, Marcelo, was stabbed to death after he was surrounded and attacked by a group of seven teenagers in Patchogue, the DA said. (Nov. 16, 2008) (Credit: Newsday File / Ana P. Gutierrez)

The mother of slain Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero walked into court in Riverhead Thursday, where she was expected to come face to face for the first time with the teenager accused of killing her son.

Family members told Newsday that Rosario Lucero, who traveled to Long Island recently from Gualaceo, Ecuador, has avoided the trial because of tremendous emotional stress.

But Thursday, she went into the courtroom shortly before 11 a.m., escorted by her son, Joselo. She did not speak to reporters.

She attended the trial a day after a judge told the alleged 19-year-old killer Jeffrey Conroy of Medford he could not blame another teenager in testimony for the fatal stabbing of Lucero, 37, on Nov. 8, 2008.

Earlier in the week, Suffolk County homicide Det. John McLeer told the court that seconds after Conroy allegedly plunged a knife into Lucero, he appeared to realize what he had done - and told his friend and co-defendant Nicholas Hausch: "Oh, --."

Conroy stands accused of murder and manslaughter. He is on trial before State Supreme Court Judge Robert W. Doyle, who Wednesday said he would not allow Conroy to blame the stabbing on friend Christopher Overton, 17, of East Patchogue.

"There is no other evidence in this case that supports this version of the facts," Doyle said. "All of the physical evidence and oral statements point to the defendant as the one who stabbed the victim."

In an exclusive interview with Newsday on Monday, Rosario Lucero explained her reluctance to attend the trial.

Seated in the kitchen of her son Joselo's cramped second-floor apartment in Patchogue, Rosario Lucero said: "I don't want to see what they did to my son. It's hard to listen to it."

She wore a black dress and sandals, her black hair neatly pulled back. She tended to an Ecuadorean Holy Week specialty, a soup called fanesca, as she kept an eye on her grandson, Issac, 3.

She, her daughter Isabel and her grandson arrived on Long Island a week ago Wednesday. She told Newsday it was her fourth trek to Long Island since the killing of her son - noting it hasn't gotten easier over time.

They attended an Easter Sunday service at the Brookville Reformed Church, where Ecuadorean immigrant the Rev. Allan Ramirez said he preached about her faith - and her ability to forgive her son's killer.

"Most of us just talk about forgiveness," Ramirez said. "It's another thing to hear this person whose son has been butchered" offer forgiveness.

Isabel, meanwhile, said she continued to be uncertain about what she felt toward Conroy.

"It's not hate," she told Newsday on Monday, speaking in Spanish. "It's something I can't explain. It's an emptiness."

Conroy is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, both as hate crimes, and has pleaded not guilty.

With Carl MacGowan and Kathleen Kerr

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