Two PA Teens Acquitted in Hate Crime Murder of Luis Ramirez

Two teens, accused in the fatal beating of Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania back in July of 2008, were recently acquitted of all serious charges by an all white jury. Brandon Piekarsky, 17, was acquitted of third-degree murder and Derrick Donchak, 19, was acquitted of aggravated assault. Charges of ethnic intimidation against both teens were also dropped.

Although it has been incorrectly reported by certain media outlets such as FOX News that the altercation began as Luis Ramirez, 26, walked his "15-year-old girlfriend home," the truth is that Ramirez was engaged to Crystal Dillman, the mother of his three children. He was attacked while walking Dillman's sister home.

Prosecutors tried to explain the racial motives behind the crime to the jury and paint Ramirez as the victim of a group of young, drunk thugs who were out looking for trouble. The defense attorneys for the teens have declared Ramirez the aggressor and have claimed that the entire incident was just a street brawl that got out of hand.

"There's been a complete failure of justice," said Gladys Limon, staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, who attended the trial and informed Ramirez's family of the verdict. "It's just outrageous and very difficult to understand how any juror could have had reasonable doubt."

When Ramirez was first murdered, his bereaved fiancee seemed to know what the outcome of any trial would be, saying, "I'm know they're going to try to make him look like nothing, and try to justify what the kids did, even though there's no way they could justify this. I know I'm not gonna get the justice I deserve, 10-1 these kids are going to get probation or a slap on the hand. Because he's an illegal Mexican they don't care, right away he's less important."


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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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