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Plea possible in Lucero hate crime case?

Kevin Shea, one of the seven boys accused

Kevin Shea, one of the seven boys accused in a hate crime slaying, appears in Riverhead court. (Feb. 3, 2009) Photo Credit: NY Post / Pool

Two of the defendants charged in connection with the hate killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant in Patchogue will appear Friday before State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle in Riverhead amid indications one of them, 18-year-old Kevin Shea, might take a plea.

Shea and Jordan Dasch, 19, were due to appear before Doyle next week but were advanced to Friday, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for District Attorney Thomas J. Spota. Clifford would not comment further.

Shea and Dasch - both of Medford and former Patchogue-Medford High School students - are among seven teenagers charged with first-degree gang assault and fourth-degree conspiracy for the Nov. 8, 2008, killing of Marcelo Lucero. The teens also face additional charges for attacks on other Latino victims.

Shea's attorney, Steven Politi of Central Islip, said Shea might plead guilty depending on the outcome of conversations in chambers. "There's a possibility but I don't know how strong it is," he said. "There's always a chance that something's going to happen."

Dasch's attorney, Michael Gajdos of Patchogue, said his client has "no intention of taking a plea at this moment."

"Nothing's really changed as far as the district attorney's position," Gajdos said.

Gajdos said he was awaiting Doyle's decision on a number of motions, including whether Dasch's statement to police is admissible in court and a motion seeking suppression of evidence and dismissal of several charges.

Doyle also has not yet ruled on motions made by defense attorneys for separate trials.

Jury selection for Shea is slated to begin Monday. Jury selection for another defendant, Jeffrey Conroy, 19, of Medford, is scheduled to begin the following week. Conroy is the only defendant charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, both as hate crimes. Authorities say he fatally stabbed Lucero.

All seven teens gave statements to police hours after the killing admitting to their involvement in the crime. Last week, Doyle ruled that Conroy's and Shea's statements could be used in a trial.

Prosecutors have not offered any defendants any deals. A source this week said prosecutors will likely seek one trial with multiple juries.

"As of this time it's being advanced, I'm told, because they want to see about putting my guy next to Conroy," Gajdos said. "I don't know if that's going to happen, either. There's a lot of things that have to be addressed prior to a trial."

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