Jury in Shenandoah Hate Crime Trial To Be Ready Wednesday

The trial of the two Shenandoah, Pa., men charged with a federal hate crime for the beating death of a Mexican undocumented immigrant could be under way before the week comes to an end.

Today, the prospective juror pool narrowed from 75 to 41 after a 10-hour day of individual questioning.

The trial for Brandon J. Piekarsky (green shirt) and Derrick M. Donchak (blue shirt) could start before the week comes to an end.

At the William J. Nealon Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse in Scranton, Judge Richard A. Caputo assured that jury selection will take place Wednesday.

To get the panel of 14 — 12 jurors and two alternates—both sides will issue peremptory challenges, which is the right both sides have to challenge a juror without having to give a reason for that challenge.

Derrick M. Donchak, 20, and Brandon J. Piekarsky, 18, face life in prison if found guilty of the federal hate crime charge stemming from the beating that took the life of Luis Eduardo Ramírez Zavala in July 2008.

Both are accused of violating Ramírez Zavala’s civil rights motivated by the fact that he was Hispanic and lived in a dwelling there, according to the federal indictment.

Mr. Donchak is also charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Proceedings begin tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

Audio production thanks to Dave McAndrews.


About Gustavo Martínez Contreras

was born in Texas, brewed in Mexico City, seasoned in the Mexico-United States border, aged walking the streets of Philadelphia. He had a short-lived stint eating grits, fried chicken, and peaches in Atlanta. He later became a béisbol writer for El Diario de Nueva York. He has written about immigrant communities in English, Spanish, and some Spanglish. Although he does not have a shelf full of awards, Gustavo has received thank you notes and hugs from people who have trusted him with their stories. His work has appeared in Voices of New York, El Diario/La Prensa, Dallas’ Al Día, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Philadelphia Weekly, Radio Bilingüe, Latina Lista, Spot.us, among others. He is currently pursuing a master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
This entry was posted in Hate crime, Immigration, Luis Ramírez, Shenandoah. Bookmark the permalink.

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