A stunning twist as Conroy testifies at trial

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Jeffrey Conroy is led out of Fifth Precinct

Jeffrey Conroy is led out of Fifth Precinct in Patchogue for his arraignment in Central Islip on Nov. 10, 2008. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Joye Brown Newsday columnist Joye Brown

Joye Brown has been a columnist for Newsday since 2006. She joined the newspaper in 1983 and has

Jeffrey Conroy's lawyer, William Keahon, took a big gamble by having his client take the stand and point the finger elsewhere for Marcelo Lucero's killing.

As the defendant gave his version of that infamous night in November 2008, portions of Conroy's testimony drew groans and guffaws.

"Can you believe this kid?" a spectator muttered not so quietly.

But the testimony wasn't for the crowded room of onlookers, which included Overton's mother, Denise, and his defense attorney, Paul Gianelli, as well as, for the first time ever, Lucero's mother. The tiny woman sat stone-faced, with a tissue balled in her left hand, during much of the day's proceedings.

The stunning twist in the trial was for the jury, which appeared to pay rapt attention to the back and forth, first between Conroy and his lawyer, and later between the teen and prosecutor Megan O'Donnell, whose voice more than once betrayed incredulity at what Conroy said.

They will have to determine what role the testimony plays in their deliberations.

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During the hours of testimony and cross-examination, Conroy, whose face rarely varied from anything other than a neutral expression, held his ground.

He said, over and over and over again, that he had voluntarily agreed to accept a bloody knife from Overton to protect a teen he'd met only that night.

And that he'd kept his story secret from everyone but his parents and lawyer for more than a year.

But that was hardly the only twist or turn.