Community reacts to Conroy verdict
VideosPatchogue-Medford high school students react to Conroy verdict Conroy found guilty of manslaughter Marcelo Lucero: Complete video coverage
GalleriesJeffrey Conroy hate-crime case
3:25 p.m. Student: Verdict was right, but crime still casts shadow over school.
"Just thinking about it, I don't even think it's acceptable that he did that. It's not acceptable what happened," Smaldone said. "Just knowing that it happened makes me walk around and feel unsafe."
He and other students said racial tensions at the school have heightened since Lucero's death. Some worried that the crime put other students in a bad light.
"Some kids are disappointed that some people could even act like this, how kids can do this and not care for other people's feelings," Smaldone said. - Keiko Morris
3:04 p.m. Gov. Paterson says verdict shows New York won't tolerate hate, but the fight continues.
"Just hours after the news of the crime broke, it became clear that the impetus for this heinous act was nothing less than prejudice, revealing an anti-immigrant sentiment that threatens not only those who speak another language or look differently, but all New Yorkers," Gov. David A. Paterson said in a statement released Monday afternoon. "Today's verdict makes clear that New York has no tolerance for such intolerance . . . We must continue our work to fight discrimination - whether motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation." - Jennifer Smith
12:30 p.m. Victim's brother says Lucero family is satisfied.
Joselo Lucero, Marcelo's brother, said after the verdict that the family was satisfied with the job done by the district attorney's office.
"The hunting season is over, at least for now," Lucero said. "We are Spanish, but are not animals." - Bart Jones
12:30 p.m. Patchogue minister: Verdict sends strong message
The Rev. Dwight Wolter, pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue, said the verdict sends a strong message to anyone considering a hate crime.
"What it says - and this is where Suffolk County has come through - is if you think you're going to get away with this kind of stuff, you're going to be seriously wrong," Wolter said. "You're going to be held to serious consequences."
12:10 p.m. Jurors: Conroy stabbed Lucero but didn't mean to kill.
Jurors in the Jeffrey Conroy trial said they never believed Conroy's testimony that he took the fall for a codefendant who actually killed Marcelo Lucero.
"When he changed his mind 17 months later, we didn't buy that one bit," said juror Michael Engel, 36. "We didn't buy anything he said."
Several jurors said they based their decision on the physical evidence and were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Conroy intended to kill Lucero.
Engel said the jurors agreed that Conroy's acts were hate crimes, because of his track record of targeting Hispanics and his statement to police that he and his friends would sometimes go "Mexican hopping."
But juror Eric Kramer, an environmental enginner at Brookhaven National Laboratory, said the jury took its time before reaching its final decision.
"We wanted to be fair," said Kramer, of Port Jefferson Station. "We wanted to make sure everyone got their right due."
Engel said the jury felt sympathy for both the families of both the defendant and victim.
"There's a feeling for both sides," he said. "We felt bad for both sides." - Alfonso Castillo
12:05 p.m. Keahon says he will appeal
Conroy's conviction will be appealed, defense attorney William Keahon said.
"Unfortunately in our system of justice, sometimes young men and women are convicted of crimes they did not commit," Keahon said.
In his closing argument, Keahon had asked jurors to consider convicting Conroy of second-degree manslaughter.
12 p.m. Ecuadorean official says "there are no winners"
Pablo Calle, a representative of the Ecuadorean National Department of the Migrant who was at the trial, said he was disappointed that Conroy was not convicted of murder but acknowledged the first-degree manslaughter conviction was a severe outcome.
"There are no winners in a situation like this. We have seen eight families devastated by this crime," Calle said, referring to the Luceros, the Conroys and the families of the six other teenagers originally charged in connection with Lucero's stabbing.
"We are now satisfied with this decision," Calle said.
"A mother is not going to see her son ever again. Another family is not going to see their son for years. We're here to help and make sure Ecuadoreans have the protection and that their rights are beith protected.
12 p.m. Patchogue mayor: Hate crime "not going to be tolerated"
Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, right after the verdict, said, "That this was decided as a hate crime was extremely important so that everyone knows it's not going to be tolerated in this community, in this town, in this county."
"I wasn't in the courtroom or the jury room, and I will not judge their decision, but manslaughter means this young man isn't going to see the light of day for a long, long time," Pontieri said.
12 p.m. DA Spota calls it "a fair verdict"
District Attorney Thomas Spota said the jury arrived "at a fair verdict."
He acknowledged that some Hispanics "probably have indicated it was not a fair verdict. They wanted a murder verdict."
Spota said he and prosecutor Megan O'Donnell "realize [with] the evidence in this case, it could have gone either way."
"The law protects everyone, no matter whether they are from another country, speak a different language or whether they are an illegal alien," he said.
O'Donnell said proving murder was difficult because some evidence in the case was open to interpretation.
"We are very satisfied with this verdict," said the prosecutor, who gave a blistering closing argument last week. "It has not been an easy case. The evidence can be viewed from two different viewpoints."
11:30 a.m. Tearful Conroy family leaves courthouse
Conroy's father, mother, sisters and brother left the courthouse immediately after the verdict.
His father, Robert Conroy, was crying, one hand to his face, as the family got into an elevator on the third floor. His mother, Lori Conroy, appeared stunned and stonefaced.
Jeffrey Conroy's two sisters and brothers appeared to be crying and hugging one another.
About 11:25 a.m. Conroy handcuffed, led away
Jeffrey Conroy turned and looked at his parents, Robert and Lori Conroy, as he was about to be handcuffed by court officers.
He made a gesture with one hand, then was handcuffed and led away.
About 11:25 a.m. Conroy pronounced guilty of manslaughter and assaults as hate crimes
The jury, which had deliberated three full days, found Conroy guilty of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime, first-degree gang assault and fourth-degree conspiracy in the death of Lucero.
The jury also convicted Lucero in second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime in three separate attacks on Latino men - assaults on Lucero's friend, Angel Loja, on Hector Sierra earlier in the evening of Nov. 8, 2008, and on Octavio Cordova on Nov. 3, 2008.
For first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime, the most severe crime of which Conroy was convicted, he faces a sentence of 8 to 25 years in prison.
The courtroom was quiet as the verdict was read.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle had warned those in the gallery not to make any outburst.
"You performed well," Doyle told jurors after the verdict was read. "Your decision in this case was not one that was reached lightly."
11:17 a.m. Conroy family in courtroom
Before the seven-man, five-woman jury's verdict was announced, the family of Jeffrey Conroy was in the courtroom.
Lucero's mother Rosario, sister Isabel and brother Joselo were not in the courtroom.
10 a.m. The jury began deliberating
Besides awaiting a verdict in the Conroy trial, State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle was scheduled to sentence a Medford man in connection with another case.
Robert Schiavo pleaded guilty last month to stabbing to death Nancy McKinley, of Washington, D.C., in a Bellport home last year. McKinley, the wife of a diplomat, was staying at the home of a friend while visiting Bellport, her hometown.
9:30 a.m. Jurors report to courthouse
The jury deliberating the Conroy case arrived at 9:30 a.m. to resume its work.
Late Friday night, just before the jury broke off talks for the weekend, the panel had heard a read-back of the extensive cross-examination of Suffolk Det. John McLeer by defense attorney William Keahon.
Keahon questioned McLeer on April 5 and 6, the detective's second day on the witness stand. During the cross-examination, which lasted several hours, Keahon tried to cast doubt on parts of the five-page statement McLeer had taken from Conroy.