RIVERHEAD, NY (AP) - Moments after an Ecuadorean immigrant was stabbed to deathduring a confrontation with a group of Long Island teenagers, theyouth suspected of inflicting the fatal blow admitted he had aknife and was responsible for the stabbing, one of his friendstestified Monday.
Nicholas Hausch, 18, who has pleaded guilty togang assault, conspiracy and other crimes, appeared Monday as aprosecution witness in the trial of Jeffrey Conroy.
Prosecutors say Conroy was one of seven teens, including Hausch,who surrounded and killed Marcelo Lucero on a Patchogue street inNovember 2008. Conroy, who has pleaded not guilty, is the only onecharged with murder and manslaughter as a hate crime; prosecutorssay he is the one who actually stabbed Lucero.
The case has focused attention on the animosity between thelargely white population that settled on Long Island after WorldWar II and a growing influx of Hispanics, many from Central andSouth America suspected of illegally entering the United States.Prosecutors contend Lucero's death was the culmination of acampaign of violence that targeted Hispanic immigrants.
Lucero, 37, was walking with a friend near the Patchogue trainstation around midnight when they were confronted by the teenagers,who prosecutors say were strolling around town looking fortargets.
Hausch, who faces between 5 to 25 years in prison when he issentenced after Conroy's trial, testified that Conroy had confidedin him moments after Lucero was stabbed that he was responsible."He was walking past me and he said: 'We gotta go.' He said hestabbed him," Hausch testified.
Hausch said he and the others implored Conroy to ditch theknife, but Conroy told them he had washed it off in a puddle,assuring them it had been cleaned. But Hausch said that when he sawthe knife, it was still blood-stained.
"We're not going to get away with this," Hausch said he told thegroup.
Minutes later, as the teens walked back to their car, they werearrested by police just blocks away from where Lucero waskilled.
On cross-examination, defense attorney William Keahon got Hauschto concede that he never saw Conroy with the knife before thekilling and that he didn't actually witness the stabbing. Hauschsay the only person seen hitting Lucero was Kevin Shea, one ofthree other teens who also have pleaded guilty.
Besides his role in Lucero's killing, Hausch has pleaded guiltyto participating in earlier attacks on Hispanics in thePatchogue-Medford area of eastern Long Island. He admitted that onseveral occasions, he and a number of other teens had attackedHispanics merely because of their ethnicity.
In one case, Hausch said he and others shot a BB gun at aHispanic man.
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