Day two of the Shenandoah Teens Trial occurred on Tuesday April 28, 2009.
The prosecution is still calling witnesses in the case of Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak in the death of illegal alien Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, PA in July 2008.
The second day of testimony was called early due to extreme heat and humidity.
There has been a lot of media attention at the trial, though I have seen none actually presented on TV. It seems that the majority are planning on putting together "specials" like CNN's "Latin in America" and the like. I am doubting that any of these will be sympathetic to the teens even if they are acquitted of the charges.
(Shenandoah Teen Trial Coverage: Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, My Verdict, Verdict is in!, Shenandoah Rally and Archive)
During the trial today, David Turnley
, who is making a documentary on the case was temporarily thrown out of the courtroom for receiving phone calls. Turnley is known for covering Mandela and apartheid, the Fall of the Berlin Wall and Tiananmen Square and praiseworthy films of The Dalai Lama and Cuba, so I'll let you judge for yourself what side of the issue you think Mr. Turnley is planning on presenting. Apparently Turnley didn't learn in his world travels how to shut his phone off.
Even more annoying was the race based headline from the NY Times on the case "2 White Youths on Trial in Killing of a Mexican". Yeah, no bias there is there? At every turn the media has tried to turn all of this into a big racist fiasco. For anyone out there doubting that groups like La Raza, MALDEF and MEChA haven't gained power and influence over the media and many politicians you have to look no further than the NY Times headline above and the upcoming CNN show "Latin in America".
What the death of Luis Ramirez in a fight has to do with being "Latin in America" is beyond me. It's like CNN saying "see this is what happens if you come to the US and you're Latino. It happens here all the time because we're a racist country." I'm starting to really hate CNN. And I'll be waiting for their special "White in America" where everyone has a silver spoon in their mouths and never faces any hardships or racism. I digress though...
Important witnesses put on the stand today were Brian Scully, Colin Walsh and Victor Garcia.
The prosecution in my opinion made a sickening statement against our Border Patrol Agents in this country by putting on the stand Stephanie Wierzalis. Wierzalis testified that she knew Derrick Donchak through a friend and had put on her MySpace page a picture of her with Donchak on Halloween and that he was wearing a Border Patrol shirt. The prosecution also grilled Scully on whether Donchak had worn his Border Patrol shirt other times.
As we all know our Border Patrol is a racist group who beats Mexicans right? Because that is the only thing that could possibly be construed by the prosecutions lines of questioning on Donchak's shirt. I find that absolutely sickening and the fact that the D.A. would do that as a statement against enforcement of immigration laws as being somehow racist. Politics in the courtroom, go figure.
Brian Scully and Colin Walsh testified. Scully is still facing aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation charges in juvenile court. Walsh copped a plea agreement with the DA to 9 years for violating the Civil Rights of Luis Ramirez under the Fair Housing Act (I still don't understand that one, though there is some testimony below). Walsh is expected to only serve 4 years.
Victor Ramirez was at the scene and the one who, with his wife, dropped Luis Ramirez and Roxanne Rector off where the incident occurred.
Media coverage from WNEP
9:11 Prosecution calls Brian Scully.
Scully: I have pending aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation charges in juvenile court, and made no promises regarding my testimony.
Scully: I was drinking at the creek with a group including Piekarsky, Walsh, Donchak and Lawson. Donchak delivered the alcohol.
Scully: I made the "isn't it a little late for you to be out" and "go back to Mexico" comments.
Scully: Piekarsky was the strongest person there.
Scully: Piekarsky took Ramirez down with a football tackle, and Donchak punched a fallen Ramirez multiple times.
Scully: the fighting stopped, and Donchak and I cursed at Ramirez. We were walking away when Ramirez hit me in the back of the head.
Scully: Walsh knocked Ramirez down with a punch.
Scully: Ramirez was on his back with eyes closed and hands at his sides. I missed a kick, Piekarsky kicked him in the left side of the head.
Scully: several males showed up after the fight, and one of them pointed a gun at me.
Scully: we met after the fight to get our story straight.
Scully: Piekarsky said he kicked Ramirez, and Donchak "said he was glad he didn't break his knuckles."
Scully: the next day Shen. Police Officer Moyer called me in, and I gave a false statement which omitted some facts, including the kick.
Scully: Donchak had a "border patrol" t-shirt and wore it multiple times prior to the fight.
Piekarsky's Defense Attorney
Fanelli: your omissions were designed "to protect you and you alone."
Scully: I wanted to protect everybody.
Under Fanelli's cross-examination, Scully says he was intoxicated and his recollection abilities may have been impaired.
Scully: I don't remember Piekarsky making any comments to Ramirez.
Scully: I play four or five sports and am one of the best players.
Fanelli: but you missed a kick on a motionless target?
Donchak's Defense Attorney Jeff Markosky alludes to Schlack's Monday testimony that multiple people kicked Ramirez.
An objection ends the line of questioning.
Scully: one fight stopped after Donchak pushed Ramirez away.
10:45 On redirect,
Scully says Shen. Police Officer Moyer's partner on July 12 was Piekarsky's mother's boyfriend, Jason Hayes.
Scully said Piekarsky's shoes were blue and gray and that his were white.
Scully's testimony has concluded.
11:14 DA Jim Goodman calls Colin Walsh to the stand
Walsh: I have been charged under a federal civil rights statute under the Fair Housing Act.
Walsh: my understanding is I would be sentenced to four years on my federal charge if I co-operated and testified.
Walsh: Scully made the "late to be out" and racial comments. I also cursed at Ramirez.
Walsh: I wasn't scared of Ramirez because "he was smaller than us and there were six of us."
Walsh: after the first fight, Roxanne Rector and Victor Garcia were trying to calm Ramirez down.
Walsh: Scully continued making comments, and Ramirez attacked him.
Walsh: me, Piekarsky, Donchak and Scully kicked the fallen Ramirez.
Walsh: I took Ramirez down with a solid "uppercut hook" and saw him hit his head
Walsh: Piekarsky kicked Ramirez in the head while he was down.
Walsh: "It wasn't right what (Piekarsky) did, kicking a man when he was down."
Walsh: after we fled the scene, a man showed up, pointed a gun at us and said "what you did wasn't cool."
Walsh: Jason Hayes gave Piekarsky a ride back to the scene that night. Piekarsky told police Ramirez started the fight and omitted the kick.
Walsh: Piekarsky's mother, Tammy, told us that Hayes told her Ramirez was Life Flighted and we better get our story straight.
Walsh says Donchak later showed him a small piece of metal and said he was lucky he had it.
Walsh: Tammy told us our stories were inconsistent with Rector's version of events.
Walsh: Officer Moyer asked me if I talked to the other guys "meaning did I get my story straight."
Walsh: I gave a false statement saying Ramirez threw the first punch and minimizing the racial aspects.
Walsh on Piekarsky's kick to Ramirez's head: "I was right next to him."
Fanelli is grilling Walsh on how he violated Ramirez's federal housing rights.
Fanelli: "Tell me how a 17-year-old violated a man's housing rights."
Walsh: our actions intimidated other Latinos from wanting to move into the area.
Walsh has repeatedly said the federal record makes it clear he plead guilty to aiding and abetting crimes by the group as a whole.
Walsh: my understanding of federal sentencing guideline Rule 5K.1 is if I testify truthfully my sentence can be reduced.
Fanelli: so you have to impress a federal prosecutor to get a sentence reduction?
Walsh: "I don't have to impress anyone. I'm willing to take the nine years."
Fanelli has asked both of today's witnesses about the color of Scully's and Piekarskys's shoes.
Walsh said Scully's shoes were white and Piekarsky's shoes were gray.
Walsh: I saw no kick-and-miss by Scully.
Walsh says his punch on Ramirez wasn't a sucker punch: "I looked him right in the eye."
12:43 Walsh has concluded his testimony.
D.A. Jim Goodman
1:46 Prosecution calls Victor Garcia.
Garcia: me, my wife Arielle, Ramirez and Rector were hanging out at my place on July 12. Ramirez and I were drinking.
Garcia: Arielle and I dropped Ramirez and Rector off at the Vine St. Park.
Garcia: when I arrived at the park, I saw 5 to 6 boys and heard one of them yell a slur at Ramirez.
Garcia: after I unsuccessfully tried to pull Ramirez and a boy apart, I was punched in the back of the head and started to fight back.
Garcia: "No one was trying to help me, (and I said) I'm not going to get beat up too"
Garcia: I didn't see Ramirez hit the ground--"all I heard was a 'boom' on the ground."
Garcia: Ramirez didn't respond to his nickname "caballo" or slaps to the face to wake him.
Garcia: Ramirez was kicked in the head "out of nowhere." I chased and kicked at the boy, but didn't see who it was.
Garcia: Ramirez was foaming at the mouth.
2:22 Cross examination
Fanelli asks Garcia if, in a previous statement, he saw shorts, black socks and white shoes on the kicker.
Garcia says he "probably" gave that testimony, but isn't "certain."
Garcia can't identify the boy he fought with, but says he was taller and had dark hair.
Garcia: Ramirez was not wearing a shirt.
2:25 Prosecution calls Barry Nelson Boyer, of Shenandoah - a friend of the teens
Boyer: At 11:30, near Donchak's house, I saw Piekarsky get into a cop car and followed him to the park.
Boyer: Hayes and Piekarsky's mom were "going together."
Boyer: Moyer asked if I had been involved, and I said no.
Boyer: I met with those involved the next day at Piekarsky's house to get our story straight.
Boyer: at the scene, Piekarsky pointed to a male and "that's the guy with the gun" and that person was taken into custody.
Prosecution calls Stephanie Wierzalis who knew Donchak through mutual friends.
Wierzalis gives brief testimony that a photo from her MySpace depicts Donchak in a Border Patrol shirt at a Halloween party.
3:02 Prosecution calls Mahanoy City police officer John Kaczmarczyk, who says he responded to the scene of the fight.
Kaczmarczyk on a weapon recovered at the scene: "it appeared to be a BB gun."
Kaczmarczyk: Ramirez had a red, swollen face and what appeared to be a shoe print on his chest.
3:09 Cross examination
Fanelli starts to ask if an untrained eye would be mistaken for a real gun, but is stopped by an objection.
Kaczmarczyk says the weapon resembled a .45 automatic.
(the "bb gun" was not admitted into evidence or noted whether it was indeed the gun brandished at the teens after the incident)
3:16 Prosecution calls Richard Examitas, a Lost Creek Ambulance chief who says he was called to the scene.
Examitas: Ramirez was unconscious and unresponsive. The right side of his head was swollen, and he had abrasions on the left side of chest.
3:27 (Proceedings called due to weather - heat and humidity)to the day's proceedings.
(Shenandoah Teen Trial Coverage: Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, My Verdict, Verdict is in!, Shenandoah Rally and Archive)
Testimony above was taken from The Republican Herald