As each of four teenagers was sentenced Wednesday to several years in prison for the 2008 hate crime attack on Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, three of them offered apologies to the family of the slain Ecuadorean immigrant.
Jose Pacheco, Anthony Hartford and Jordan Dasch spoke briefly and in hushed tones before they received their sentences from State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle in a proceeding that lasted more than an hour in the Suffolk County Courthouse in Riverhead. A fourth teen, Christopher Overton, declined to speak in court.
Pacheco, 19, of East Patchogue, said the assault was "horrible and unjustifiable."
"I shouldn't ask for mercy," he said. "God knows what I did was wrong."
Lucero, 37, of Patchogue, was fatally stabbed Nov. 8, 2008, near the Patchogue train station after he and a friend were surrounded by seven teenagers who had gone out looking to attack Latinos, a bias crime that drew national attention to Suffolk County.
Doyle sentenced Pacheco, along with Hartford and Dasch, both 19 and of Medford, to 7-year sentences for attacking Lucero. Overton, 18, of East Patchogue, was sentenced to 6 years. Doyle did not explain why he gave Overton a shorter sentence.
Overton also was sentenced yesterday to 2 to 6 years in prison for his role in a 2007 home invasion that ended with the death of Carlton Shaw of East Patchogue. The sentence will run concurrently with his sentence for the Lucero attack.
The four teens had pleaded guilty to first-degree gang assault, second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime and other charges for a string of attacks on Hispanic men that culminated in Lucero's death.
Speaking in court before Doyle sentenced the teens, Lucero's brother, Joselo, called for an end to violence.
"I have so much anger in my heart, sometimes I want to explode," he said. "But that is not the right thing. The right thing is to bring peace."
Lucero declined to comment on the sentences afterward.
The teens showed little reaction as the sentences were pronounced. Their relatives and supporters declined to speak to reporters as they left court.
Denise Pacheco wiped tears from under the sunglasses she wore throughout her son's hearing and pulled the brim of a straw hat over her face as she left the building.
Assistant District Attorney Megan O'Donnell called the crimes "unprovoked and senseless."
Attorneys for some of the teens said they are not racists. Hartford's attorney, Laurence Silverman of Dix Hills, blamed the attack on "stupid, drunken behavior" and said Hartford believed Latinos "come here and take away people's jobs."
Pacheco's attorney, Christopher Brocato of Central Islip, said Pacheco, who is part Puerto Rican and part African-American, "is deeply ashamed."
"He's aware he's become almost a pariah among his own people," Brocato said.
Paul Gianelli of East Patchogue, Overton's attorney, said of his client's sentence: "Under the circumstances, I'm not totally dissatisfied."
Two other teens who pleaded guilty in connection with the assault on Lucero are to be sentenced later this year.
With Mitchell Freedman and Andrew Strickler