- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 26, 2008

PORT CARBON, Pa. (AP) | Three white teens were charged Friday in what officials said was an epithet-filled fatal beating of an illegal Mexican immigrant in a small northeast Pennsylvania coal town.

Brandon J. Piekarsky, 16, and Colin J. Walsh, 17, were charged as adults with homicide and ethnic intimidation in the July 12 attack on Luis Ramirez.

A third teen, Derrick M. Donchak, 18, was charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and other offenses. All are from Shenandoah, where the attack occurred.

Preliminary hearings for all three suspects were set for Aug. 4. The suspects played football at Shenandoah Valley High School. Mr. Donchak, now enrolled at Bloomsburg University, was the quarterback last season.

“As a result of this crime, a young man has lost his life. Many other lives have been devastated, and the borough of Shenandoah has been filled with tensions between many ethnic groups,” Schuylkill County District Attorney James Goodman said.

According to a police affidavit, the defendants and three other 17-year-olds encountered Mr. Ramirez, 25, and a teenage girl in a park the night of July 12.

The youths goaded Mr. Ramirez and the girl, saying, “You should get out of this neighborhood” and “Get your Mexican boyfriend out of here,” documents said. After Mr. Ramirez and the girl began walking away, someone yelled an ethnic slur at him, court documents said. He responded, “What’s your problem?”

A fight ensued, during which police said Mr. Walsh punched Mr. Ramirez in the face. The victim fell and hit his head on the street, leaving him unconscious, after which Mr. Piekarsky kicked him in the head, police said.

Mr. Piekarsky and Mr. Walsh were being held without bail, while Mr. Donchak was held on $75,000 bail. Lawyers for the two younger suspects said they would try to have the case moved to juvenile court.

Frederick Fanelli, Mr. Piekarsky’s lawyer, said he is “surprised and disappointed” that his client faces a homicide charge, attributing Mr. Ramirez’s death to a “street fight that ended tragically.”

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