Brother of slain Hispanic immigrant reflects 10 years after his death

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PATCHOGUE -

This week marks 10 years since a Hispanic immigrant was killed by seven high school teenagers in Patchogue.

Marcelo Lucero was stabbed to death while he was on his way to visit his friend. "He was murdered for no reason," says his brother Joselo Lucero.

Listen to the True Crime Long Island podcast on the Patchogue 7 and Marcelo Lucero:

Seven teenagers were immediately arrested for the death of the 37-year-old immigrant from Ecuador. They became known as the Patchogue 7, and police say they had long been taking part in what they called “beaner hopping,” or targeted attacks on Hispanic immigrants.

All seven teens were convicted of various hate crime charges. Now, 10 years later, Jeffrey Conroy, the man prosecutors say plunged the knife into Lucero’s chest, remains locked up, serving a 25-year prison sentence.

VIDEO: Extended interview with Jose Lucero

The other six defendants have been released after serving between five-and-eight years behind bars. One of the men, Nicholas Hausch, was arrested again this year in East Hampton for alleged drunk driving and cocaine possession. 

A relative of one of the men, Chris Overton, declined to comment. The other defendants either could not be reached, or did not respond to New 12's request for an interview. Overton's attorney at the time, Anthony LaPinta, spoke with News 12.

"I kept in touch with him the first half of his prison sentence," LaPinta says. "And I do know firsthand how regretful and how sorry he is, for taking part in a such a horrendous act."

Lucero says he holds no hate for the teens, who are now 26 and 27-year-old men.

"What I wish for them? The best," Lucero says. "It's not in my nature to wish somebody the worst."

Lucero says he fears similar hate crimes could still happen on Long Island.

"A lot of people are still thinking immigrants don't belong here, and the rhetoric is being used against immigrants," says Lucero. "Patchogue changed a lot, but unfortunately the people, in general, they have the same mentality as in the past."

After the death of Marcelo Lucero, the U.S. Justice Department began monitoring the Suffolk Police Department's interactions with the Hispanic community.

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