CNN reports that Brandon Piekarsky (left), Colin Walsh (center), and Derrick Donchak (right) will stand trial on charges related to the beating death last month of Luis Ramirez, a Mexican migrant. The case cast a national spotlight on the Pennsylvania town of Shenandoah, where the Latino population has encountered hostility from the White community.
Sixteen-year-old Piekarsky and 17-year-old Walsh will be tried “on counts of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation.” Both will be tried as adults.
Eighteen-year-old Derrick Donchak “has been ordered to stand trial on aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and other offenses.”
According to eyewitness testimony from Ben Lawson, a 17-year-old friend of the three accused,
Ramirez [the victim] was fighting with one of the suspects, Derrick M. Donchak, when another, Colin Walsh, sucker-punched the victim. A third suspect, Brandon Piekarsky, then kicked Ramirez in the head while he lay motionless in the street.”
Lawson also testified that he, the three accused, and two other friends had been drinking in the woods on the night of the attack that resulted in the death of Luis Ramirez. Lawson went on to say that the next day, they met at Brandon Piekarsky’s house to plan what they were going to tell the police:
We made up a plan that we we’re going to tell the cops that nobody kicked him, that there were no racial slurs, there was no booze, and Brian got hit first.”
Having failed to protect Luis Ramirez in life, we can now only hope that the legal system will dispense justice to the people responsible for his death. More importanly, let’s hope the outcome of this trial makes other would-be hate criminals think twice before beating someone to death simply because he looks different from them.