Kevin Shea, one of seven teenagers charged in the November 2008 death of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero, pleaded guilty Friday in a Riverhead court to attacking Lucero and three other Latino men.
Shea, 18, of Medford, a former Patchogue-Medford High student, became the third of seven teenagers charged in connection with Lucero's death to plead guilty. He agreed to testify against the other four - including Jeffrey Conroy, 19, of Medford, scheduled to go on trial March 1 for second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter.
Prosecutors say Conroy stabbed Lucero after he and six other teens surrounded him.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle said Friday he would sentence Shea on April 19 to no more than 10 years in prison.
Lucero's brother, Joselo Lucero, told reporters he was disappointed with the sentence. "Right now, what I feel, 10 years is not enough," he said. "What they [Shea and the others accused of attacking Lucero] did is not right."
In a statement, District Attorney Thomas Spota said prosecutors will seek a "substantially longer" sentence for Shea in April. "His actions were intentional and hateful and he deserves to be in prison for longer than 10 years," Spota said.
Shea pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court to first-degree gang assault, second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime and fourth-degree conspiracy.
In addition to the assault on Lucero, Shea admitted attacking two other men in separate incidents in Patchogue the same night - Lucero's friend, Angel Loja, and Hector Sierra of Patchogue. He also admitted assaulting Octavio Cordovo of Medford at a park on Nov. 3, 2008.
Prosecutors agreed to drop charges against Shea for alleged assaults in Suffolk County jail on an inmate and correction officer.
Shea's father and other family members left court without commenting.
Outside court, Shea's attorney, Steven Politi of Central Islip, said Shea held no animosity toward immigrants but viewed them as easy targets. "If you're going to get into a fight, you're going to get into a fight with someone who isn't going to go to the police," Politi said.
Barely audible in a hushed courtroom, Shea said Friday that on Nov. 8, he and the other teens went to Patchogue to pick a fight with Mexicans, using a derogatory term. After attacking Sierra, the group confronted Lucero, he said.
Shea said when Conroy later told the others he stabbed Lucero, he called Conroy an "idiot."
"You're stupid," Shea said he told Conroy. "You shouldn't have done that."