Defense rests its case in Shenandoah Hate Crime Trial

After just 45 minutes of testimony, the defense for the two Shenandoah, Pa., men charged with a federal hate crime rested its case.

Derrick M. Donchak, 20, and Brandon J. Piekarsky, 18, face life in prison if found guilty of the charges stemming from the 2008 beating death of 25-year-old Luis Eduardo Ramírez Zavala, an undocumented immigrant.

Today, it took only one witness, Shenandoah and West Mahanoy Police officer Robert Senape, testified that Ariele Garcia identified Bryan Scully as the one who kicked Mr. Ramírez Zavala in the head.

“She recognized the kids from school,” he said. “She identified Scully as the one who kicked the victim as he was lying on the ground.”

Judge Richard A. Caputo gave the jury a 45-minute break and instructed the jury not to start discussing the case until they have heard closing arguments that are expected later today.

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,, among others. He is currently pursuing a master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
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