Witness describes alleged hate crime attack
A man has told a jury how he found his dying friend, bleeding profusely, after an attack by Long Island teenagers who shouted racial epithets.
Angel Loja testified Wednesday at the murder trial of Jeffrey Conroy. Loja recalled walking with Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero on a Patchogue street in 2008 and being confronted by a group of teenagers.
According to Loja, the teens separated him from Lucero and assaulted the two. Loja says he did not see Lucero being stabbed, but saw the suspects run away from him.
Conroy has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter as a hate crime. Four of his co-defendants have pleaded guilty to hate crime-related charges.
Conroy?s father says Loja is being paid for his testimony. The prosecutor?s office has been making payments to Loja since he is considered a crime victim.
AP wires contributed to this report.