Jordan Dasch, 18, told police he backed off when six other boys confronted Lucero, 37, an Ecuadorean immigrant, near the Patchogue train station on Nov. 8, 2008, Det. Ronald Tavares testified at a pretrial hearing. The hearing will determine whether a signed statement by Dasch was obtained properly.
"He stated that he does not like to fight, he's not a fighter, and he retreated," Tavares said in State Supreme Court in Riverhead, recalling his interview with Dasch after Lucero's murder. He said Dasch said he previously had back surgery.
Prosecutors have charged Dasch and six others with first-degree gang assault and fourth-degree conspiracy in connection with Lucero's murder, which authorities have labeled a hate crime. Two of the boys have pleaded guilty to gang assault and other charges.
One of those charged, Jeffrey Conroy, 18, of Medford, is also charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime and first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime for stabbing Lucero.
Outside court, Dasch's attorney, Michael Gajdos of Patchogue, said his client is innocent.
"As you heard the prosecution's own witness say, he didn't want to fight," Gajdos said.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle reserved judgment on Dasch's statement. Dasch is due back in court Jan. 19.