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Forensic scientist describes Lucero crime scene

Jeffrey Conroy, 17, front, and other teens arrested

Jeffrey Conroy, 17, front, and other teens arrested in a hate crime killing, are led out of a police station for their arraignment in Central Islip. Conroy is accused of being the stabber in the hate crime. (Nov. 10, 2008) Credit: James Carbone

Referring to still and video pictures displayed on a large screen in a darkened courtroom, a Suffolk County crime lab supervisor Thursday led a jury in a Riverhead courtroom down a 370-foot trail of blood left by a dying Ecuadorean immigrant as he stumbled away after seven teenagers attacked him in Patchogue on Nov. 8, 2008.

Joselo Lucero - the brother of Marcelo Lucero, who was stabbed during the attack - watched intently as Donald Doller, a crime lab forensic scientist, answered a prosecutor's questions and described what was in the photos.

Doller was testifying in the hate-crime trial of Jeffrey Conroy, 19, of Medford, who was one of the teenagers in the gang. Conroy faces second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter charges in the death of Lucero, 37. The case has attracted international attention.

Some of the pictures the jurors saw showed the hot-pink marking paint that Doller sprayed along the trail of blood after arriving at the crime scene.

"I marked the trail so that in photographs, the trail would be more visible," Doller said.

The trail began in a parking lot on the north side of the Patchogue train station, went up Railroad Avenue and ended up next to the back of a sport utility vehicle on Funaro Court, which was strewn with yellow maple leaves. One photo showed Lucero's denim jacket next to a pool of blood where he had collapsed next to the SUV.

Prosecutor Megan O'Donnell asked Doller to identify evidence recovered after the attack - including a 7 3/4-inch folding knife with a black handle and a curved, serrated blade, and another curved folding knife with a depiction of deer and mountains on its white handle that was found in a trash can on South Ocean Avenue.

Under questioning from O'Donnell and defense attorney William Keahon, Doller explained how he had used special swabs to collect possible DNA evidence.

Doller said police also collected as evidence Lucero's cell phone, which was turned on, and the pants that his friend, Angel Loja, had been wearing. Loja, 37, was with Lucero when the gang attacked and described the assault when he testified Wednesday.

One photo showed a red SUV in a public parking lot near the crime scene. A Patchogue waiter testified Tuesday that on the same night Lucero was fatally stabbed, four teenagers jumped out of a reddish SUV and attacked him.

Suffolk Police Det. Thomas Walsh testified that police found a black-and-silver BB gun, BB pellets, two black baseball caps, a white NASCAR baseball cap, a cell phone and a digital scale in the red SUV.

Jurors also saw video shots of the teenagers walking quickly past the trash can where police say they found the white knife.

- With Carl MacGowan

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