Hate Crime in Shenandoah

As hate crimes against Latinos escalate, the community seeks justice for its latest victim. 


By Gustavo Martínez
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 21 | Posted May. 19, 2009

Share this Story:

“He took one step and kicked him in the head,” said Walsh. “I was shocked. It wasn’t really right what he did, kick a man when he was down.”


The fourth teen, Brian Scully, also testified that Piekarsky kicked Ramirez in the head. A juvenile court judge sentenced Scully to up to 90 days.


Frederick Fanelli and Jeffrey Markosky, attorneys for Piekarsky and Donchack, respectively, painted the picture of an enraged Ramirez who wouldn’t stop fighting. The kids, they argued, acted in self-defense. 


The Verdict


The all-white jury deliberated for almost eight hours on Friday. Just before midnight they came out to a courtroom of family and friends of the defendants. The jury found Donchak and Piekarsky not guilty of the most serious charges: criminal homicide, aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. 


As the verdict was read, Donchak and Piekarsky celebrated; their loved ones jumped and shrieked with joy. Donchak jumped off his chair and hugged Piekarsky. Officers had to prevent some members of the crowd from jumping the rope.


“Hey! This ain’t over yet,” a sheriff yelled.


But it was over. 


The families joined in a series of emotional embraces that superseded the somber image of Gladys Limón darting out of the room escorted by a representative of Philadelphia’s Mexican Consulate. 


The two disappeared behind a door for approximately 15 minutes, before Limón stoically addressed the press.


“I had to call Crystal Dillman and Luis’ mother to let them know that the people who murdered their son and partner were going to continue their lives uninterrupted,” she said. “They were shocked, obviously. They’re devastated.”


But the two defendants and their loved ones left the courthouse cheering and applauding the jury’s decision, which, according to one of the jurors, was pretty much agreed upon hours before it was made public.


“From 5 p.m. it was pretty much an 11 to 1. I was the one holding up and the rest had to convince,” juror foreman Eric Macklin said. “I believe all four boys are racist and I was pretty close to finding [Piekarsky and Donchak] guilty. But due to the evidence presented, I just couldn’t do it.”


It’s Not Over


The trial’s outcome outraged Latino leaders, who since the beginning claimed there were serious mistakes made in the prosecution of this crime.


“I’m completely disgusted and amazed at the jury’s improper, imprudent and deviant attitude toward this case,” says Rev. Miguel Rivera. “These individuals, all of them white, didn’t understand they had in their hands a civic and socially important case dealing with the life of a human being.”


Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC, in Spanish), says the trial should have been held somewhere else.


“The prosecution was totally inept, lacking professionalism, as the outcome of this trial showed us,” he says. “They should’ve presented a motion to hold the trial somewhere else because the nature of this corrupt county [Schuylkill County] aids to breed white supremacy sentiments there.”


The lack of justice, Rivera says, shows that even an animal has more rights than an immigrant. “Had they killed a dog, these kids would be already imprisoned. It’s amazing that a dog has more rights than an undocumented immigrant,” he adds.


Agapito Lopez, an activist from 
Hazleton, Pa., who has been very vocal in the quest for justice in this case, says the verdict sent an erroneous message and that Latinos in Shenandoah now live with fear.


Prev| Page: 1 2 3 |Next
Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend

COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 21 of 21
Report Violation

1. Edgar said... on May 19, 2009 at 10:35PM

“Hate will prevail while men exist, Its not that they dont accept someone else its just they dont even accept themselves.”

Report Violation

2. Vicente said... on May 20, 2009 at 03:01AM

““I’m completely disgusted and amazed at the jury’s improper, imprudent and deviant attitude toward this case,” says Rev. Miguel Rivera. “These individuals, all of them white, didn’t understand they had in their hands a civic and socially important case dealing with the life of a human being.”

“They should’ve presented a motion to hold the trial somewhere else because the nature of this corrupt county [Schuylkill County] aids to breed white supremacy sentiments there.”

Apparently, the "honorable" reverend was so consumed with hatred towards "White" people that he failed to see the irony of his two statements! This is especially galling considering the amount of violent crimes being perpetrated by illegal aliens on a daily basis, most of whom are Hispanic, I'm ashamed to say. Where is the reverend when an illegal executes several African-American students in New Jersey, or when an ilegal alien gang-banger murders a father and two teens with an AK-47 in San Francisco?”

Report Violation

3. Ronnie said... on May 20, 2009 at 10:44AM

“Vicente, the high school jocks were drunk. Pure and simple facts. This isn't a matter of Reverend Rivera hating whites, it's about a bunch of drunks getting away with murder. Frankly, what disturbs me the most is that you still don't get it. Your comments about violent crimes being perpetrated by Hispanics is about as crazy as me saying that all Italians are a bunch of drunks.”

Report Violation

4. Nancy said... on May 20, 2009 at 11:36AM

“Vicente: You missed the most important point of the entire article. It is not about immigration status and it is not about race alone; it is about:

1. hate towards others based on color, creed, status
2. the danger of allowing hate or prejudice to impact our system if justice

A man is dead. His status, or what other undocumented people have done in the past, does not negate that a human being was killed by young people filled with hate and alcohol. These young people that will not be held accountable for the murder they committed. That is not justice.”

Report Violation

5. Floripondio said... on May 20, 2009 at 11:52AM

“Come on Vicente. So you are saying that because the victim was an illegal alien it is kind of OK they killed him because other illegal aliens have committed crimes in the past. Why do you even have to mention that? I do recognize that the Reverend shouldn’t emphasize the fact that people in the jury were all white but… it kind of is a hate crime so it is an important fact.
And by the way, all those illegal aliens that committed those crimes you just mention should be in jail. Not because they are aliens but because they committed crimes.

Report Violation

6. Pissedoffblackman said... on May 20, 2009 at 05:10PM

“Vicnete, Your words are the precise reason why things like this continue to happen in '2009'. Because you are so ignorant to realize that just because some other illegal alien is violent, doesn't mean that 1. All hispanics are illegals and violent and 2. that the actions of these boys is justified. I'm so sick of ignorant whites always making excuses for their own behaviors but always tries to throw the book at other nationalities when they get in trouble. Whites are the most destructive, corrupt, and dishonest race on the face of the earth. The only race who got away with almost a half a millineum of rape, torture, and murder and who still will open their mouths to call another race lazy and dangerous. Not one single white has ever been persecuted for what they did to an entire race of people and even in today's times when we see injustice, people like yourself still try to make excuses instead of trying to punish those that are wrong. I only hope one day that you and your kind dont come face to face with the rath of one of us minorities who you think are so dangerous and ignorant. I know that I won't hold anything back, cuz that's all you people seem to understand. Hate, torture and death.”

Report Violation

7. Anonymous said... on May 21, 2009 at 10:03AM

“Pissedoffblackman,

Speaking of destructive, American blacks are four times more likely to kill whites than the reverse. When we adjust for population, this means Blacks kill across race 31 times as much as whites. And 99.99% of the time, "hate crime" is not attached to black violence. This no doubt makes you very happy, judging from your threatening comment. My guess is that you've had some hilarious run-ins with the law and should probably be checking in with your parole officer right about now. Either that or your psychiatrist.”

Report Violation

8. justicenot beingmade said... on Jun 24, 2009 at 12:04PM

“why is always ok to kill immigrants but when an immigrant commits a crime everybody wants to kill i am very discussed buy the way the jury handled this case 4 killers are out after leaving 4 kids, mother and a wife by themselves now 2 kids are going to grow up with out their fathers because 4 sick minded ingnorant guys are out enjoying life this is wrong and no one seems to care if they did it once they will doit again”

Report Violation

9. A. Lopez said... on Oct 22, 2009 at 12:20PM

“Just saw this on CNN. Those kids got away with murder...there's no way to justify that. Was it an accident? Oops, sorry we didn't mean to kill you! WTF. I've never been to Shenandoah, but if this is the quality of the people there, why ever bother. Shenandoah sucks!”

Report Violation

10. Castro said... on Oct 23, 2009 at 02:59PM

“It is ridiculous that this happend....I saw this last night too and why is it that even after the death of Luis, ignorant caucaisians (on cnn while Soledad O'Brien was interviewing) still say if he wasnt't here illegally that wouldn't of happend? it is about IGNORANCE, and being drunk and parents not taking responsability of their 4 sons and teaching them right from wrong and getting away with murder.”

Report Violation

11. Castro said... on Oct 23, 2009 at 03:11PM

“Visit WWW.MALDEF.ORG and seach Luis Ramirez......summit a petition for justice”

Report Violation

12. Jenn said... on Oct 26, 2009 at 10:19AM

“It has nothing to do with being drunk, being drunk is an excuse for what happened. I'm sorry, but drinking alcohol doesn't cause you to beat a man to death while screaming racist remarks at him. I can't ever imagine my husband, my father or son dying in such a horrific way. These kids literally got away with murder & I think it's such a shame that in this day and age people can do something like this & get off. The truth is if they had been a group of Mexican or Latino football players who had beaten a white man to death they'd definitely be doing more than 6 months in jail. Shenandoah's police force is despicable they're supposed to be protecting the victim not the perpetrators. I hope an investigation turns this case around, Luis Ramirez's children and fiancee deserve justice, not this joke. Visit www.maldef.org and sign the petition to get justice for Luis Ramirez.”

Report Violation

13. Mexican/American CAL. said... on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:22PM

“What about the children of Luis Ramirez, they don’t have a father. Those little punk's, that's all you are Little punk's. I hope there's another trial, any when you all do some real time. the family of the killers should send a check every month to raise those poor kids. A man died because he was a illegal immigrant. But this country was built by Immigrants.

Report Violation

14. Mexican/American CAL. said... on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:22PM

“What about the children of Luis Ramirez, they don’t have a father. Those little punk's, that's all you are Little punk's. I hope there's another trial, any when you all do some real time. the family of the killers should send a check every month to raise those poor kids. A man died because he was a illegal immigrant. But this country was built by Immigrants.

Report Violation

15. Mexican/American CAL. said... on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:22PM

“What about the children of Luis Ramirez, they don’t have a father. Those little punk's, that's all you are Little punk's. I hope there's another trial, any when you all do some real time. the family of the killers should send a check every month to raise those poor kids. A man died because he was a illegal immigrant. But this country was built by Immigrants.

Report Violation

16. Mexican/American CAL. said... on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:22PM

“What about the children of Luis Ramirez, they don’t have a father. Those little punk's, that's all you are Little punk's. I hope there's another trial, any when you all do some real time. the family of the killers should send a check every month to raise those poor kids. A man died because he was a illegal immigrant. But this country was built by Immigrants.

Report Violation

17. Mexican/American CAL. said... on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:24PM

“What about the children of Luis Ramirez, they don’t have a father. Those little punk's, that's all you are Little punk's. I hope there's another trial, any when you all do some real time. the family of the killers should send a check every month to raise those poor kids. A man died because he was a illegal immigrant. But this country was built by Immigrants. Shenandoah sucks!””

Report Violation

18. Mexican/American CAL. said... on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:36PM

“What about the children of Luis Ramirez, they don’t have a father. Those little punk's, that's all you are Little punk's. I hope there's another trial, any when you all do some real time. the family of the killers should send a check every month to raise those poor kids. A man died because he was a illegal immigrant. But this country was built by Immigrants. Shenandoah sucks!””

Report Violation

19. Mexican/American CAL. said... on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:36PM

“What about the children of Luis Ramirez, they don’t have a father. Those little punk's, that's all you are Little punk's. I hope there's another trial, any when you all do some real time. the family of the killers should send a check every month to raise those poor kids. A man died because he was a illegal immigrant. But this country was built by Immigrants. Shenandoah sucks!””

Report Violation

20. Mexican/American CAL. said... on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:36PM

“What about the children of Luis Ramirez, they don’t have a father. Those little punk's, that's all you are Little punk's. I hope there's another trial, any when you all do some real time. the family of the killers should send a check every month to raise those poor kids. A man died because he was a illegal immigrant. But this country was built by Immigrants. Shenandoah sucks!””

Report Violation

21. ShoeLaceThing said... on Oct 7, 2010 at 06:08PM

“What is this guy doing out with the 14 year old sister of the 15 year old with whom he has two children already? Or did he impregnate the girl when she was 12 years old? What part of illegal does he not understand? So what if a bunch of drunk jocks made comments? This guy deserves comments. And then this illegal Mexican incestuous rapist calls in his gang friends with their guns and they are ready for a brawl. This guy is trash. The jocks got carried away around someone who is total trash, and he goaded them into murdering him. Shenandoah does not suck. That girl was out too late. They told the truth to someone who is complete trash and things escalated out of control.”

ADD COMMENT

Rate:
(HTML and URLs prohibited)