Sunday, July 21, 2024

Two Pennsylvania Teens Sentenced for Hate Crime Against Latino

Two Pennsylvania teens have been sentenced to serve jail time for their roles in the beating death of 25-year-old Luis Ramirez last July.

Brandon Piekarsky, 17, was sentenced to 6 to 23 months, and Derrick Donchak, 19, received 7 to 23 months for their participation in the death of Ramirez.  The incident has been widely covered in the media as an example of hate crime against Latino immigrants.

Judge William Baldwin ordered the two to report to Schuylkill County jail on July 19 to begin serving their sentences which followed a conviction by an all-white jury of misdemeanor simple assault last month. They were acquitted of felony counts, including aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and hindering apprehension. These charges carried lengthier sentences.

Even though the attack, which left Ramirez on life support for two days, was severe, Judge Baldwin said he could pass a sentence only in accordance with the jury’s verdict.

Judge Baldwin said, “This wasn’t any fight, this was a group of young athletes ganging up on one person. That’s not a street fight.”

He also said, “You picked out a guy who wasn’t one of you and beat the pulp out of him.”

After the verdict, Governor Ed Rendell sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recommending that the Department of Justice pursue civil rights charges. The Justice Department has confirmed its Civil Rights Division has an ongoing investigation into the case but has not released further details

Rendell stated, “The evidence suggests that Mr. Ramirez was targeted, beaten and killed because he was Mexican. Such lawlessness and violence hurts not only the victim of the attack but also our towns and communities that are torn apart by such bigotry and intolerance.”

Fred Fanelli, Piekarsky’s lawyer, said he felt the sentence was harsh, given the circumstances. The judge could have sentenced the teens to probation under Pennsylvania’s sentencing guidelines.

Several teachers, coaches, and family friends urged leniency in sentencing and testified that the teens were good kids who fell into an unfortunate situation.

Ramirez’s longtime girlfriend and mother of two of his children read a statement in open court before many supporters of the defendants, “He was my one and only love, and they took him away from me, and they took my children’s father. Now I have to live without my best friend and love of my life.”



  1. Truth be told: if this were 2 Mexicans beating a white man to death, they’d either be on death row right now or in prison for life. For these arrogant little brats to get by with this murder and serve less than 2 years in jail [much easier than prison] is a horror and shows once again that there are plenty of racists left in America. Shame on that jury and shame on those men who beat an innocent man to death.

  2. I think this is terrible. They were tried by and all white jury. Does this not stand out to anyone? You are supposed to have a jury of peers of multiple races. This is a disappointment for the justice system. These boys murdered someone and the most they can get is maybe two years in jail? What was their motive for beating this poor man? This is an outrage and I am truly saddend by the weakening punishments handed out for the cruelest of crimes.

  3. It is disturbing when these murderers only get two years in jail for murdering a human being. Who cares what his race is – he was a human being like you and me. Shame on that jury, and shame on our justice system. It just amazes me how the color of your skin can get someone killed – pure ignorance.

  4. I don’t think it matters what the motive was…they killed a life and for that they get 2 years? If I were their parents, I would have them committed. How can a sane human being beat someone so badly that their brains are oozing out of their skulls. I can’t believe I live on the same planet as someone who could do that for ANY reason. In order for the family to get justice, they will have to sue the parents of these obscene teenagers for “Wrongful Death.” Seems that is the only way anything gets done. Money talks! I guess then the parents will feel the pain. God Bless the Ramirez family.