Saturday, November 7, 2009
Marcelo Lucero: One Year Later
One year ago , one of the most horrific hate crimes happened right here in the town where I live. On the night of November 8, 2008, a group of 7 teens embarked on an evening of "beaner hopping", which is what the defendants named their despicable hobby of going out and attacking Latinos. Late into their evening of terror, they came upon a couple of Ecuadorians making their way home from watching a movie at a friend's house.
The group immediately surrounded the two men and began to harass them, pushing them around and yelling racial epithets. Luckily, one of the two men was able to escape the assault, but the other, Marcelo Lucero, 38, was not as fortunate. Lucero was stabbed in the chest by Jeffrey Conroy, then 17 years of age and the only one to face murder charges, and later died of his wounds as the defendants made their escape.
Yesterday, one of the seven defendants in the case pleaded guilty to first degree gang assault and fourth degree conspiracy in connection with the murder. Nicholas Hausch, 18, of Medford, also pleaded guilty to second degree assault as a hate crime and second degree attempted assault in connection with an earlier attack that same day. He faces 5 to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced once the prosecution of the other defendants is complete, and he has agreed to cooperate with authorities in the cases against his co-conspirators.
Excerpts released by Newsday in connection with Hausch's statements reveal the mindsets of these young haters:
"We agreed to go to Patchogue knowing there were always Spanish guys walking around down there. We saw a Spanish guy walking on the street near a Jewish temple...We never caught the guy."
"We all got out of the SUV and began walking looking for Spanish guys to beat up. As we walked in a parking lot near a train station, we saw two guys and realized they were Beaners...the rest of us were popping off at them. Calling them Beaners."
"As I walked away, Jeff caught up to me first saying we gotta go. The others were still near the guy and Jeff yelled at them, 'Let's go.' As we all walked away, Jeff told us he stabbed the guy...We told Jeff to toss the knife, but he kept it. He said, "no, I washed it off in a puddle."
Violence is despicable in any form, but committing acts of brutality solely because another person belongs to a certain group is contemptible beyond words. Whether it's a Spanish person, an African American, or a gay person doesn't matter. To commit violence against another because of blind hate is the most heinous of crimes.
The cheerless anniversary will be marked this evening at 6PM, when a vigil takes place in Patchogue Village, at the spot where Mr. Lucero was brutally murdered. Lucero's mother and sister flew in from Ecuador to take part in the ceremony, to be presided over by individuals from various faiths.
This Wednesday, WLIW21, a local PBS station will air a documentary about the murder and it's after affects entitled "Running Wild - Hate and Immigration on Long Island." The film was produced by Tamara Bock and Angel Canales, two recent graduates of Columbia University's School of Journalism, and discusses all the ramifications coming out of this eye-opening event.
Eltman, Frank. "NY town marks year since immigrant fatally stabbed." Associated Press (2009): n. pag. Web. 7 Nov 2009. .
Reddy, Sumathi. "Teen admits guilt in deadly hate crime." LI Newsday 06 Nov 2009: A9. Print.