After error, sentencing redo in Lucero case

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One of the men who admitted taking part in the hate-crime assault of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero was sentenced Thursday for the second time for his role in the attack because of a mistake made at his original sentencing last week.

Anthony Hartford, 19, of Medford, was erroneously sentenced Aug. 25 to serve 11/3 to 4 years in prison for fourth-degree conspiracy in connection with the fatal November 2008 attack on Lucero, 37, of Patchogue, near the Patchogue train station.

Court officials and attorneys later realized Hartford had not admitted to the conspiracy count when he pleaded guilty in May to first-degree gang assault and other charges.

The conspiracy sentence was vacated Thursday in Suffolk County Court by State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle, who had imposed the original sentence.

The sentencing do-over does not affect the 7-year prison term Hartford received for first-degree gang assault, the top charge against him. It also does not affect the sentences of 21/3 to 7 years for each of four counts of second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime for Hartford's role in attacks on four other Hispanic men. All the sentences are to run concurrently.

"It doesn't change anything," Hartford's attorney, Laurence Silverman of Dix Hills, said outside court.

Officials said the mistake may have occurred because Hartford was the only one of the seven defendants in the Lucero case who did not either plead guilty to conspiracy or get convicted of that charge. The conspiracy count was dropped as part of Hartford's plea bargain.

Hartford was sentenced Aug. 25 with three of his co-defendants, all of whom had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree conspiracy, in addition to first-degree gang assault and other crimes.

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Jeffrey Conroy, 19, of Medford, is serving a 25-year sentence in an upstate prison after being convicted in April of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime for stabbing Lucero to death.

Hartford was the last of the seven men charged in the Lucero attack to plead guilty in connection with the assault, which focused national attention on race relations in Suffolk County.

The sentencing error had delayed Hartford's transfer to the state prison system from the Suffolk jail, Silverman said. "He couldn't go upstate on a plea he didn't plead guilty to," he said.

Hartford, dressed in green jail scrubs, did not speak in court.

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