Nineteen-year-old Jeffrey Conroy gave a tearful apology to the family of Marcelo Lucero- the man Conroy was accused of killing during a November 2008 evening of “beaner-jumping” with several other teens. Nevertheless state Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle declared that "the proof was overwhelming" against Conroy and imposed the maximum sentence weeks after Conroy was convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime last month. Though Conroy was acquitted of murder Doyle emphasized that Conroy was guilty of “senseless and brutal crimes” including having assaulted other Latino immigrants on Long Island.
The judge’s decision brought out strong emotions among some of the relatives of both the attacker and the victim:
After the sentence was imposed, Conroy's father, Robert Conroy, shouted an expletive, saying his son was only 17 at the time of the attack.Today’s sentencing comes days after a sixth teen pleaded guilty to hate crime charges related to Lucero’s death. Christopher Overton admitted he accompanied Conroy and five others on the night Lucero was slain and was previously signaled by Conroy as the one who killed Lucero.
The killing shone a national spotlight on race relations on Long Island.
After Conroy was convicted, Lucero's mother, Rosario Lucero, said through a translator that she had forgiven Conroy and would pray for him.
In the meantime, police in nearby Peekskill are investigating whether the “brutal beating” of another Ecuadorian represents a hate crime. Much like the community where Lucero was killed, Peekskill has enjoyed a growth in its Latino population in recent years.
Image- New York Times (“Jayson Llivicura, 7, put money into a donation box at a memorial for Marcelo Lucero” back in 2008.)
Online Sources- CNN, The Latin Americanist, Long Island Press, Canadian Press, New York Times, CBS News