There were light protests as day one of the Shenandoah teens went to trial on Monday April 27, 2009.
, 17 of Shenandoah Heights, is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, ethnic intimidation, criminal solicitation/hindering apprehension or prosecution and purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor. Third-degree murder, with a possible maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years in a state correctional institution, is the most serious degree of homicide Piekarsky faces.
, 19 of Shenandoah, is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, criminal solicitation/hindering apprehension or prosecution, ethnic intimidation, corruption of minors, purchase or consumption of alcohol by a minor and selling or furnishing alcohol to minors.
, 17 of Shenandoah Heights, had his charges dropped as he made a plea agreement to testify against his lifelong friends. His plea was guilty to violating Luis Ramirez' Civil Rights under the Fair Housing Act and he faces 9 years. He is expected to only serve 4.
Brian Scully, another teen, also agreed to testify against his friends, he faces charges of aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation in juvenile court.
(Shenandoah Teen Trial Coverage: Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, My Verdict, Verdict is in!, Shenandoah Rally and Archive)
Ed and Wendi Medashefski (read Wendi's recap of day one) and Tony Gladski made a silent protest outside the courthouse on day one saying that they supported the teens "There’s a lot more to this story," said Wendi Medashefski, "We do support these boys. Kids make mistakes,” said Ed Medashefski. They also had a sign on their car that said: “Innocent until proven guilty does not mean tried, convicted and hung by the media. Tony Gladski said he was there to rally against illegal immigration.
Are people who have been following this trial in the media well informed? Well Wendi Medashefski shot some video of an interview with one "informed woman" on the streets and asked her opinion of the case. It's quite an eye opener to what people actually belief when they just receive their news from the MSM and don't actually look into things for themselves.
Speaking of illegal immigration, at least 4 members of MALDEF were in the trial audience on Monday. As most know MALDEF have been trying to turn this into a racial issue and saying that it is all about racism against illegal aliens. Legislative staff attorney John Amaya said MALDEF will wait until after the trial before it starts it's chants of "racists". Thanks for letting me know that Amaya.
CNN was on hand with 3 reporters who are filming the events for parts of their "Latino in America" race special they are showing in October. Race pandering was all around the first day of the trial.
And NBC couldn't help but try and have its hand in convicting the teens. Judge William Baldwin had to tell jurors that they were not allowed to watch Wednesday night's episode of "Law & Order" because the plot is based on high school basketball players charged with killing an illegal alien. Sickening.
Another point of note that is appalling is that just prior to the trial on April 22, the school board had a meeting and passed a ruling that any students spotted at the trial or even participating in rallies or protests of the trial, would be barred from attending graduation or the prom. this includes even after class protests or rallies. It should be noted that all 4 who were charged in the original incident attended or graduated from Shenandoah High. Shenandoah School Superintendent Stanley G. Rakowsky sent two employees, Assistant high school Principal Michelle Zinkus and cafeteria worker and bus driver Joe Sobinsky, to write down any students names they spotted at the trial so that they could be punished.
The school board obviously hasn't heard of freedom of speech and I hope one of these students attends a rally and loses their rights so that they can sue these people into individual bankruptcy. What an absolutely controlling and ignorant place our school - and particularly the school boards - have become in this country. Imagine what Thomas Jefferson would have to say to them.
Illegal alien supporters are already calling this a show trial and claiming the teens will all get off because they are white. The fact is that these people don't believe in an innocent until proven guilty system and have done everything they can to convict these teens before they've even had a fair trial. Shadows of the Duke Rape trial maybe?
Why wasn't I out protesting for the teens? Because I prefer to see all of the evidence before I make a conclusion. I refuse to be used as a tool.
Below is day one testimony, which basically consisted of opening arguments, some testimony by the forensic investigators who took pictures and processed the scene and three witnesses.
The first witness was Elizabeth Schlack, who lived across from where the incident occurred and called 911. She seems pretty unreliable as she couldn't recall a lot of accurate details of even the number of people at the incident. Her 911 call was played and contradicted some of her own testimony.
The second witness was Roxanne Rector, who claims to be the girlfriend of Luis Ramirez and said they had a sexual relationship. The judge told the jury that the fact that 25 year old Luis Ramirez was sleeping with a 15-year-old girl should have no bearing on the testimony other than the facts. However I find that hard to believe. It reflects on Ramirez' character. Not that he is on trial, but that some of the claims made that he instigated physical events could be swayed by previous decisions on his part.
Rector's testimony also puts into question profiteering, posterchild Crystal Dillman who reportedly got paid by People Magazine for a three page spread of her story being the girlfriend of Luis Ramirez. Rector is Dillman's half-sister. Illegal alien proponents have been using a crying Dillman as their posterchild for months since Ramirez' death.
The third witness, Ben Lawson, who was at the scene, I found really unreliable. His testimony contradicts others' testimony at the scene. For instance he claims that he didn't see Ramirez prepare for a fight, but Ramirez' own girlfriend said he stood there and took off his shirt and jewelry before the fight. This shows that he was clearly preparing for the fight and that he was not jumped by some teen roving gang assaulting anyone Hispanic as MALDEF and others have portrayed this whole incident.
Media coverage from WNEP
9:41: Prosecution Opening Statement by Assistant D.A. Rob Frantz states they seek to prove Piekarsky's kick to Ramirez' head caused his death and that it was a gang attack, not a street fight gone bad. Describes kick as "if someone kicked a football."
Piekarsky's Defense Attorney
9:42-10:59: Defense opening Statement by Piekarsky's lawyer Fred Fanelli and Donchak's lawyer Jeff Markosky: Ramirez was in a relationship with Roxanne Rector, whom he was walking with.
Ramirez was the aggressor and called for back up six times. Walsh punched Ramirez and he was dead when his head hit the ground (before the kick to the head).
Ramirez mentioned a gun when he called his friends for back-up.
Scully called Ramirez racial slurs, not Piekarsky and he "went to kick" Ramirez, not Piekarsky.
Doctor will testify there was no kick to the head or that the kick was insignificant. Evidence will show Ramirez started it or was hell bent on finishing it. Fighting dispersed when friends in van returned and Ramirez got up and sucker punched Scully.
11:26: Prosecution calls Trooper John P Minalda (State Police). Trooper, who was not on location on July 12, testifies he took photographs and made maps of the area, which are admitted into evidence. Defense cross.
11:54: Prosecution calls Trooper Robert Wessner of the state police at Reading, a member of the forensic services unit. Wessner provides similar testimony and evidence. His major revelation was that a 9 mm gun was found about a block from the crime scene.
1:04: Prosecution calls Elizabeth Schlack, a Shenandoah resident, who lives near the incident.
1:17: Schlack: I called 911 after I heard continuous thumping and saw three males kicking a prone man. On cross-examination, defense enters Schlack's 911 tape as evidence. Fanelli points out that Schlack referred to "teenagers fighting and beating each other" and counted 6 to 8 people during the 911 call.
1:37: Prosecution calls Roxanne Rector, 15, of Shenandoah.
Rector: I had a sexual relationship with Ramirez, and he had asked me to marry him.
Rector: one boy asked if it was past her bedtime. She and Ramirez walked away, and comments continued from the group.
Rector: I don't know who threw the first punch.
Rector: The fighting left Ramirez unconscious, and friend Arielle Garcia said he was not breathing.
Rector: a boy falsely said Ramirez was breathing, after which the group fled.
Baldwin instructs jury that the nature of Rector's relationship with Ramirez is only relevant to evaluate her testimony for bias.
Rector on cross-examination.
Rector: It was Walsh who made the "bedtime" comment.
Rector: I asked the boys to stop. Scully said "tell your boyfriend to stop," but I didn't; "I wasn't thinking."
Rector: I saw no kick to the head.
Rector says Ramirez was already on the ground when Scully said "tell your boyfriend to stop."
Rector also testified that Ramirez gave her his shirt, wallet and medallion before the fight started, that she thought the kick landed on his shoulder and that she and Ramirez could have just walked away.
Rector also testified that she could not remember which boys specifically had made which comments or delivered which blows.
3:04: Prosecution calls the last witness of the day: Ben Lawson, one of the teens in the group on July 12.
Lawson: Piekarsky was "strong" and could bench press 215 lbs.
Lawson: I was drinking with a group including Piekarsky, Donchak, Walsh and Scully at the creek earlier in the evening.
Lawson: Scully sarcastically asked Rector "isn't it a little late for you to be out?"
Lawson: Scully said "This is Shenandoah. This is America. Go back to Mexico to Ramirez."
Lawson: Ramirez had his phone out, and Scully said "call your friends."
Lawson: Victor Garcia tried to break up the fighting, and I didn't see him throw any punches.
Lawson: Walsh knocked Ramirez down with a punch, and "the fighting was over" when Piekarsky kicked the left side of his head.
Lawson: we met at Piekarsky's house the next day to get our story straight.
Lawson: "Nobody kicked him, there were no racial slurs, we weren't drinking and Brian got hit first" was their false story.
Lawson: Piekarsky said he kicked Ramirez during the meeting at his house.
Lawson: After the fight, Donchak had said "I'm glad I had this" and shown a small rectangular piece of metal he'd used to punch.
4:07: Under cross-examination, Markosky points to discrepancies in Lawson's preliminary hearing and trial testimonies. Markosky said Lawson went from 4 to 5 "moderate" punches to "hard" punches in his different testimonies.
(Earlier, Rector had testified Ramirez gave her his shirt, wallet, and medallion to hold before the fight. )
Under cross-examination by Fanelli, Lawson said he never saw Ramirez remove his shirt.
Lawson: I didn't see how the fights started and ended.
Lawson: Rector asked Ramirez to stop, but he would not. Lawson: I can't attribute any racial slurs to Piekarsky. Lawson: I saw Walsh punch Ramirez. Lawson: I was frustrated after the fight and punched the Garcias' vehicle. Lawson: My first statement to the police "wasn't good" because I was still trying to protect my friends.
4:52: (Proceedings have concluded for the day)
(Shenandoah Teen Trial Coverage: Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, My Verdict, Verdict is in!, Shenandoah Rally and Archive)
Sources: 1, 2, 3