NEW YORK – The mother of an Ecuadorian migrant killed last November on Long Island said she is grateful for the support she has received while in the United States, where she has traveled in an attempt to ensure those responsible for her son’s death are justly punished.
“I’ve come to the United States so justice is done. I think things can’t be left like this. They killed a human being who was important for us,” Rosario Lucero told Efe Tuesday.
Marcelo Lucero, 38, was walking with a friend near a train station in the Long Island town of Patchogue when he was attacked by a group of seven high school students who had gone out “to hunt Mexicans.” Amid a confrontation, one of the assailants stabbed the Ecuadorian immigrant to death.
Six of the attackers have been accused of gang assault, conspiracy and hate crimes for their roles in Lucero’s death, while the seventh, Jeffrey Conroy, has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime.
While Conroy’s trial won’t begin for months, an initial meeting was held Wednesday among prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge presiding over the case, which has caught the attention not only of the Hispanic community but of many non-Latinos in the United States.
“I thank God because a lot of people have sympathized with my grief. They tell me: you lost a son but you won many others, because we’re all awaiting justice for your son,” Rosario told Efe just a few steps from where Marcelo was killed.
Since arriving in New York in February, she has stayed either at the home of her daughter, Catalina, in Queens, or that of her son, Joselo, who lives in Patchogue.
“Everyone has welcomed me. I’m very grateful to this country and to many very nice American people. I don’t hate (the killers of her son); I just want justice,” said Rosario, a diminutive woman with dark hair and eyes whose has been a widow for 30 years and had to work hard to raise her four children.
“I thank God who gave me the strength to support my children. I’ve given them what I could. It’s difficult for a single mother,” said Lucero, who has dressed in black since Marcelo was killed.
The woman’s eyes fill with tears and she is barely able to say a word when trying to speak about Marcelo, whom she had not seen since he emigrated to New York to support the family 14 years ago. According to Lucero, she had been “counting the hours, the minutes” until she could see him again.
“I was very hopeful. I don’t know why my God took my son from me this way. I know that death is for everyone (and we don’t know) if life will be short or long, but not a death of this type, unexpected,” she said.
Rosario recalled that three years before her son’s death she became ill with cancer and that, after her recovery, Marcelo prohibited her from working.
“He told me ‘mama, I don’t want you to do anything. That’s why I came to this country.’ He was the provider of the house, the one who helped everyone, me and his brothers and sisters,” Lucero said of her son, who worked for two years at a dry cleaner’s.
“Immigrants don’t come to do harm; there’s all types. My son came to work, to make a better life for us,” said Rosario, who added that she now fears for the life of Joselo, and feels deeply sad that she will have to leave him again.
Joselo, for his part, told Efe that his life took a “90-degree turn” with the death of his brother, a crime he says he hopes “does not go unpunished.” He added that he will move away from Patchogue to “start a new life.”
He said he’s not afraid that what happened to his brother will happen to him. “What I’m afraid of is my mother losing me,” he said, referring to his responsibility to provide for her financially.
Joselo said he understands the pain of the families of those accused in Marcelo’s death, but that the former “knew what they were doing.” EFE