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All-White Jury Finds Teens Who Beat Mexican Immigrant To Death Not Guilty


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Author Topic: All-White Jury Finds Teens Who Beat Mexican Immigrant To Death Not Guilty  (Read 64 times)
Kasey Ewing
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« on: May 04, 2009, 11:35:35 am »

Jury foreman Eric Macklin said he sympathized with Ramirez's loved ones but that the evidence pointed to an acquittal.

"I feel bad for Luis's friends and family. I know they feel they haven't gotten justice," he said.

The simple assault convictions carry possible one- to two-year prison sentences. Donchak was also convicted of corruption of minors and an alcohol charge, both stemming from his purchase of beer and malt liquor that he drank with his underage friends the night of the fight. Sentencing has not been scheduled.

The case exposed ethnic tensions in Shenandoah, a blue-collar town of 5,000 that has lured Hispanic residents drawn by cheap housing and jobs in nearby factories and farm fields. Ramirez moved to the town about seven years ago from Iramuco, Mexico, working in a factory and picking strawberries and cherries.

The 2000 U.S. Census showed that Schuylkill County's population was 96.6 percent white, with 1.1 percent of the county listed as Hispanic or Latino.

The fight began late July 12 when a half-dozen teens, all Shenandoah residents who played football at Shenandoah Valley High School, were walking home from a block party and came across Ramirez and his 15-year-old girlfriend in a park.

Brian Scully, 18, asked the girl, "Isn't it a little late for you to be out?" That enraged Ramirez, who began yelling in Spanish and dialing friends on his cell phone. Scully admitted shouting ethnic slurs. The verbal sparring soon turned into a physical altercation as Ramirez and Piekarsky traded blows, though prosecutors and defense attorneys disputed who threw the first punch.

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