Lucero, Conroy families interact quietly outside court

Parties in the trial of Jeffrey Conroy including

Parties in the trial of Jeffrey Conroy including Robert Conroy and his wife Lori (back left) and Joselo Lucero and Rev. Alan Ramirez (back right) wait to leave the court for the weekend. (March 19, 2010) (Credit: Photo by Joseph D. Sullivan)

The parents of the man accused and the brother of the man slain stood close to one another, speaking in hushed tones.

Lori Conroy wanted to give her condolences to Joselo Lucero, whose brother, Marcelo, her son is charged with fatally stabbing.

"She said she prays for him and his family," said Robert Conroy, 49, Lori's husband, who stood next to her during the exchange Friday just outside the courtroom in Riverhead. "And he said that he wishes the best for us, too. And that was it."

It was a quick and quiet interaction, but a cordial one for two families thrust into the spotlight in a high-profile crime that inflamed tensions across Long Island.

The Conroys' son, Jeffrey Conroy, 19, is on trial on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, both as hate crimes, in the Nov. 8, 2008, killing of Marcelo Lucero, 37, an Ecuadorean immigrant.

Robert Conroy said he had the opportunity to talk to Lucero briefly during pretrial hearings last year. "We shook each other's hand," he recalled. "He said, 'I'm sorry for what you're going through.' I said, 'I'm sorry for your loss.' I just wanted to be respectful." He said his wife wanted the same opportunity.

Joselo Lucero declined to comment on the exchange Friday, saying he is not making any public comments during the trial. In a previous interview, he expressed understanding of Robert Conroy's defense of his son, recalling a brief conversation they had. "I said to him, 'I stand up for my brother, you stand up for your son,' and that's how it is," he said.

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