Jury selection in Lucero murder trial set for March 1

Jeffrey Conroy, 17, is led out of a

Jeffrey Conroy, 17, is led out of a police station for arraignment in Central Islip. Conroy is accused of being the stabber in the hate crime. (Nov. 10, 2008) (Credit: James Carbone)

Jury selection for the highly anticipated trial of Jeffrey Conroy, charged in the hate killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant in Patchogue, will begin March 1, according to his defense attorney, William Keahon of Islandia.

Conroy, 18, of Medford, is the first of the seven teenagers charged with first-degree gang assault and fourth-degree conspiracy in the Nov. 8, 2008, killing of Marcelo Lucero to have a trial date set.

He is the only defendant charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, both as hate crimes. Authorities say he fatally stabbed Lucero.

Conroy is also charged with first-degree gang assault and fourth-degree conspiracy. He's also charged in earlier attacks on other Latino victims.

State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle has not yet ruled on motions to dismiss Conroy's statement - in which he admits to stabbing Lucero - or to have separate trials for the defendants.

Two of the teenagers - Nicholas Hausch, 18, of Medford and Jose Pacheco, 18, of Patchogue - have pleaded guilty to the top charge of first-degree gang assault and agreed to cooperate with authorities.

The other four defendants face court dates next month. Prosecutors have indicated that they expect more defendants to enter guilty pleas.

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