Hispanics seek U.S. help in beating case

May 3, 2009 at 12:23 PM
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POTTSVILLE, Pa., May 3 (UPI) -- Hispanic-American leaders in eastern Pennsylvania say they'll urge federal charges against two white youths acquitted of slaying a Mexican immigrant.

Gladys Limon, a spokeswoman for the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, told CNN her group would appeal to the U.S. Department of Justice after an all-white jury in Pottsville, Pa., on Friday acquitted a pair of high school football stars of the most serious charges against them in last year's beating death of Luis Ramirez, 25.

"The jurors here (are) sending the message that you can brutally beat a person, without regard to their life, and get away with it, continue with your life uninterrupted," Limon told the broadcaster.

Prosecutors had charged Brandon Piekarsky, 17, with third-degree murder and aggravated assault, and his Shenandoah, Pa., schoolmate, Derrick Donchak, 19, with assault and other crimes in a fight they said was instigated by the pair by making racially derogatory remarks toward Ramirez. The immigrant died after being kicked in the head, medical officials said.

Jurors, however, acquitted the pair on all but simple assault charges after conflicting testimony over who said what during the altercation clouded the prosecutors' case, CNN reported.

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