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.