Kevin Shea, the Medford man who admitted punching Marcelo Lucero in the face before the Ecuadorean immigrant was fatally stabbed in Patchogue nearly two years ago, was sentenced to 8 years in prison Wednesday in Suffolk County Court.
When Shea, 18, pleaded guilty in February, State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle told him that he could face up to 10 years in prison. Doyle rejected Assistant District Attorney Megan O'Donnell's call for a 15-year sentence.
Before he was sentenced, Shea apologized to Lucero's family. "This crime never should have happened," he said. Lucero's brother, Joselo, was in court.
Of the seven men originally accused in the hate-crime attack, Shea was the next to last to be sentenced. He and the other men, all in their teens, surrounded Lucero, 37, of Patchogue, and his friend, Angel Loja, near the Patchogue train station on Nov. 8, 2008. Prosecutors said the men went there in search of Hispanics to attack.
The men shouted ethnic slurs at Lucero and Loja, of Patchogue, before Jeffrey Conroy stabbed Lucero with a knife.
Lucero died early the next morning at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue. His death shone a spotlight on ethnic tensions in Suffolk County and helped prompt an ongoing federal probe of Suffolk police investigations of crimes against Hispanics.
Conroy, 19, of Medford, is serving a 25-year sentence at an upstate prison. He was convicted in April of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime and other charges.
Shea pleaded guilty in February to first-degree gang assault, second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime and fourth-degree conspiracy. In addition to participating in the attack on Lucero, he admitted involvement in assaults on Loja and Hector Sierra, of Patchogue, on the night of the Lucero attack, and an assault on Octavio Cordova, of Medford, at a park on Nov. 3, 2008.
O'Donnell said Shea pretended to have a gun and called on the other six men to surround Lucero and Loja.
"Kevin Shea is the second most culpable" member of the group that assaulted Lucero, O'Donnell said.
Shea's attorney, Steven Politi of Central Islip, said Shea has taken anger management courses while in jail.
Joselo Lucero told reporters he did not disagree with Shea's sentence.
"We respect the judge's decision, and there's nothing we can do about it," Lucero said. "This nightmare will be over soon, and that's what I'm looking forward to."
Shea's father and other family left the courthouse Wednesday without speaking to reporters.
Four other men were sentenced Aug. 25 for their roles.
Jose Pacheco, 19, of East Patchogue, Jordan Dasch, 19, of Medford, and Anthony Hartford, 19, of Medford, each was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Christopher Overton, 18, of East Patchogue, was sentenced to 6 years in prison.
The last man involved in the attack, Nicholas Hausch, 18, of Medford, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 14. He pleaded guilty last year to first-degree gang assault, second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime and fourth-degree conspiracy.
Doyle said he would sentence Hausch to between 5 and 25 years in prison. Hausch is free on bail until he is sentenced.