Crystal Dillman showed up, jury almost ready

Crystal Dillman walked into the courtroom where the questioning of prospective jurors continued Tuesday afternoon on the third day of the federal trial against three former Shenandoah policemen charged with conspiring to obstruct justice in the investigation into the fatal beating of an undocumented immigrant.

Matthew R. Nestor, William Moyer and Jason Hayes, who were chief, lieutenant and officer, respectively, face federal charges for allegedly obstructing the investigation of the July 12, 2008, beating of Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala. Moyer has also been charged with witness and evidence tampering, and with lying to the FBI.

Dillman, Ramírez Zavala’s widow, observed quietly from the front row of Courtroom 3 as the last series of prospective jurors answered questions from prosecutors, defenders and Judge Richard A. Caputo.

Later, as she left the Max Rosenn U.S. Courthouse, she tried to avoid reporters waiting outside the building and said she had no comments.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, defenders and prosecutors narrowed down to 35 prospective jurors from which 12 jurors and two alternate will be chosen to sit during the trial.

Starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, attorneys from both sides will now use their peremptory challenges to exclude prospective jurors until 14 of them remain. Counsels don’t have to give any reason as to why they want to eliminate a specific person from the pool.

After that, both sides will give their opening statements.

If convicted, the defendants face 20 years in prison on each of the obstruction charges and an additional five years in prison for conspiring to obstruct justice. Moyer faces an additional five years in prison for making false statements to the FBI.

This is the second federal trial stemming out of the fatal beating of undocumented immigrant Luis Eduardo Ramírez Zavala that took place in Shenandoah on July 12, 2008.

Last October, a federal jury in Scranton convicted Brandon J. Piekarsky and Derrick M. Donchak of a hate crime for violating the criminal component of the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it a crime to use a person’s race, national origin or ethnicity as a basis to interfere, with violence or threats of violence, with a person’s right to live where he chooses to live. In addition, the jury found that Donchak conspired to, and did in fact, obstruct justice.


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.
This entry was posted in Hate crime, Immigration, Luis Ramírez, Shenandoah. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Crystal Dillman showed up, jury almost ready

  1. Pingback: Shenandoah Police Trial Update - WFTE Community Radio

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s