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45° Good Morning


MASTIC BEACH/Third person to face charges

A third person will face charges in an alleged hate attack on a William Floyd High School student, the Suffolk district attorney's office said yesterday. The third suspect, who was not identified yesterday, was expected to surrender tomorrow for arraignment before a Suffolk County Court judge, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Two people already charged in the March 2 attack on Jermell Dixon, 19, of Shirley, were arraigned yesterday before Judge Gary Weber in Riverhead after they were indicted by a grand jury. Justin Higgins, 21, and Nashon Minter, 19, both of Mastic, each pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree gang assault, and two counts each of assault as a hate crime. Each was held on $25,000 cash bail.

Assistant District Attorney Patricia Brosco said in court yesterday that Minter said he would "beat the gay" as he and Higgins attacked Dixon at the Mastic Beach school.

An attorney for Higgins, Jamie Rosner of Patchogue, said Dixon instigated the fight a week earlier when he harassed Higgins' sister, 14, a student at the school. "This is nothing more than a fight between kids," Rosner said in court. "It had nothing to do with the fact that the alleged victim was gay."


QUEENS/10 charged in bogus-goods ring

Police arrested 10 people yesterday in Queens on charges they imported poor quality counterfeit cigarettes, designer accessories and athletic shoes from China.

The suspects, who police said were mostly immigrants from China, face charges including running a continuing criminal enterprise, trademark counterfeiting, perjury and burglary, said Lt. Michael Costello.

Police seized a variety of bogus goods worth about $4.2 million bearing the Louis Vuitton, Prada, Coach and Nike trademarks, Costello said.

The fake cigarettes were of extremely poor quality, he said.

The suspects stashed the fake goods in Queens, Brooklyn and another location Costello wouldn't reveal because the probe was ongoing.

- Anthony M. DeStefano

RIVERHEAD/Murder trial delayed one day

The trial of a Medford teen charged with stabbing an Ecuadorean immigrant to death will be delayed a day to give the teen's attorney more time to prepare.

State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle said yesterday that opening arguments would begin tomorrow morning in the trial of Jeffrey Conroy, 19, who faces murder and manslaughter charges for the Nov. 8, 2008, killing of Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue.

Four alternate jurors were picked yesterday in State Supreme Court in Riverhead. A jury of seven men and five women was seated Friday.

Conroy is one of seven teens charged in connection with the death of Lucero and an attack on a friend of Lucero. Conroy is the only defendant charged with murder.

Conroy has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, both as hate crimes.


HUNTINGTON/Traffic stop yields drug charges

A Huntington man who was stopped Monday on the Northern State Parkway because of an expired inspection sticker was arrested on drug charges and driving while impaired, State Police said.

Daniel Behensky, 22, of 10 Hansen Lane, was driving a blue Jeep east on the parkway near Exit 42 when he was stopped because of an expired inspection sticker, police said.

The trooper noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, a State Police news release said.

Police said Behensky had Xanax pills, marijuana and a glass bong with marijuana residue.

Behensky was charged with driving while impaired, possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana and vehicle and traffic violations.

He was arraigned in First District Court in Central Islip and was scheduled to return to court on Tuesday.



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