RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Three teenagers who admitted targeting Hispanics for violence were sentenced yesterday to seven-year prison terms for their roles in the 2008 killing of an Ecuadoran immigrant, and a fourth teen who had met the others on the night of the killing received a six-year sentence.
The killing focused the national debate over immigration on New York’s Suffolk County and prompted an ongoing US Justice Department probe of how the police on Long Island respond to hate crimes.
Anthony Hartford, Jordan Dasch, and Jose Pacheco, all 19, had each pleaded guilty to gang assault, conspiracy, and attempted assault as a hate crime, admitting they had participated in an ongoing campaign of attacks on Hispanics, culminating in the Nov. 8, 2008, stabbing death of Marcelo Lucero, 37.
A fourth teen, Christopher Overton, pleaded guilty to the same charges but received a maximum of six years. State Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle did not explain his reason for Overton’s lighter sentence, though Overton did not participate in earlier attacks.
In May, 19-year-old Jeffrey Conroy was sentenced to 25 years in prison following his conviction on manslaughter as a hate crime. Prosecutors said he was the one who inflicted the fatal wound that killed Lucero. Two other teens who pleaded guilty face sentencing later.
Prosecutors say many Hispanics attacked in the days before Lucero’s killing were afraid to report the crimes to police, fearing questions about their immigration statuses.