Two Guilty Of Hate Crime In Death Of Undocumented Worker, Officers Go To Trial
Luis EduardoRamirez Zavala fighting for his life
The time is July 12th, 2008, just a week after the nation celebrated it’s independence. Several drunk football players including Brandon Piekarsky, Collin Walsh, Derrick Donchak, Joshua Redmond, Brian Scully and Ben Lawson ran into an undocumented immigrant and a friend, Roxanne Rector, in a public park in the mining town of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Luis Ramirez Zavala, an undocumented immigrant from central Mexico, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Scully started the confrontation by saying to Rector, "Isn't it a little too late to be out?" Ramirez Zavala began speaking in Spanish as he spoke with his friends on his cell phone. Scully later testified, "I didn't understand him," Scully said. "So I didn't like it."
Scully called Ramirez a "Spic". Piekarsky stepped into the fray, trading blows with the undocumented immigrant, and was joined by Donchak, according to testimony by Scully. As the fight broke up Scully and Donchak continued to taunt Ramirez.
"Go home you Mexican fucker." Scully said. "Fuck you spic" Donchak yelled.
Scully claimed he was walking away when Ramirez jumped on top of him and started raining down blows. Joshua Redmond said it was Ramirez who was walking away and Piekarsky who tackled Ramirez.
In any event, Walsh stepped in and knocked Ramirez out cold. Scully admitted to trying to kick the unconscious man in the head but missed and kicked him in the shoulder. Piekarsky joined in the kicking fest, finally taking a field goal style kick landing a head blow so hard his shoe flew off.
Ramirez began to foam at the mouth and convulse, and the assailants ran away. Ramirez died two days later at the hospital with multiple skull fractures.
Shortly after the fight, most of the football players met at Donchak's house to discuss what had happened. Soon, they were joined by Piekarsky with his mother following a few minutes behind. Piekarsky had an ace up his sleeve. His mother was dating Shenandoah police officer Jason Hayes. She said Hayes had called to tell the boys to "get their stories straight" since Ramirez might die of his injuries. The group discussed the assault and agreed "that nobody kicked him, we weren't drinking, and there were no racial slurs." Lawson testified.
Police intimidation and a cover-up allegedly began almost immediately. According to testimony, Hayes approached witnesses who knew Ramirez and gave them a terse warning:Continued on the next page