Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak were found guilty of a misdemeanor for the brutal beating and subsequent death of Luis Ramirez. Both are guilty of assault and Donchak is also guilty of providing alcohol to minors, neither of which addresses the severity of the crime in which they readily admit they were involved.
Ramirez was beaten to death while walking home. He sustained injuries so severe that an impression of his cross was permanently forged into his skin, his skull was fractured, and both his brain and his eye oozed puss constantly until he died on life support. As his story broke, many were horrified by not only the brutality of his beating but also the revelation that several high schoolers on the football team were involved.
Both boys were charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and ethnic intimidation. Piekarsky was also charged with third degree murder for allegedly kicking Ramirez in the head after he had already fallen to the ground. These two boys were singled out in the incident because witness testimony repeatedly argued that they had goated Ramirez into the fight with racial epithets and allegedly with the goal of beating him senseless.
An all white jury from the same town, where youtube video and interviews showed people championing the beating and claiming “Mexicans” needed to get out of their town, found Ramirez’s assailants innocent of all but the lesser charges “due to a lack of evidence.” The only people there to witness the fatal blows were the accused. Nor, given the opportunistic nature of the crime, did they outline a plan in writing. However, any medical examiner could and did say that the injuries Ramirez sustained in the beating killed him. And while the multiple defendents told conflicting stories, no doubt designed to obfuscate who did what when, no one argued they were not there and they did not participate. Instead, the defense argued Ramirez attacked them; a supposition that would mean a young father, took time out of his walk home, to attack 4 members of a football team . . . Apparently, for the residents of Pottsville PA, the lives of white youth willing to beat a man to death while calling him racial slurs are more important than the lives of Latin@s or their families.
The jurors here [are] sending the message that you can brutally beat a person, without regard to their life, and get away with it, continue with your life uninterrupted.In this case, the message is that a person who may not be popular in society based on their national origin or certain characteristic has less value in our society. (Gladys Limon,the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, as quoted by CNN)
Ramirez died of his wounds, leaving behind two children and a young wife.