Teen charged in Lucero slaying pleads guilty

Christopher Overton appears in court in Riverhead on

Christopher Overton appears in court in Riverhead on Jan. 28, 2009. Photo Credit: AP

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Christopher Overton, the East Patchogue teenager that Jeffrey Conroy tried to blame for the 2008 stabbing death of Marcelo Lucero, pleaded guilty Tuesday to gang assault in connection with the Ecuadorean immigrant's death and hate-crime charges in attacks on two other Latino men.

Conroy, 19, of Medford, who was convicted last month of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime in Lucero's killing and other charges, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday by State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle in Riverhead. He could spend up to 25 years in prison.

The guilty plea by Overton, 17, leaves Anthony Hartford, 18, of Medford, as the last of the so-called Patchogue 7 still awaiting trial.

Hartford has pleaded not guilty to gang assault, conspiracy and other charges.

Conroy and Overton were among a group of teens that assaulted Lucero, 37, of Patchogue, on Nov. 8, 2008, during a spree of attacks on Latinos," prosecutors have said.

At the time of Lucero's death, Overton was on probation awaiting sentencing for his role in a 2007 home invasion that ended in an East Patchogue man's death.

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Conroy testified at his trial it was Overton who stabbed Lucero with a black-handled knife. Conroy said he had taken the blame for Lucero's death when he was interviewed by police because Overton had told Conroy about his legal troubles, and Conroy said he "felt bad" for Overton.

After finding Conroy guilty, jurors said they had not believed him.

Tuesday, wearing green Suffolk jail scrubs, Overton repeated the now-familiar details of Lucero's death as he answered questions posed by Assistant District Attorney Megan O'Donnell.

When she asked who stabbed Lucero, Overton said it was Conroy.