Shenandoah Trial – Day 2

Posted on Thu 04/30/2009 by

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by Turtle

I was unable to attend the trial for day 2 due to one of my children undergoing a medical procedure after a lump was found. She’s sore, but doing well. I think she may go back to school Thursday. Your prayers for her full recovery and that the testing proves nothing sinister are appreciated.

My regular sources are not able to discuss the testimony with me just yet, so this recap will be pulled from other sources and not what I heard with my own ears. We all know the other news media tend to distort what’s actually being said, but we’ll try to piece it all together.

The judge orders the jury not to watch this week’s Law and Order episode, so that it won’t influence their decision. Read the recap and spoiler of that episode here. (I broke that story, BTW!)

First up: Brian Scully, the one charged as a juvenile. Scully says that he has not yet had his own day in court, and states that he made no promises regarding his testimony. He was drinking at the creek with the other teens (Piekarsky, Donchak, Walsh, and Ben Lawson). Brian says that he is the one who asked Roxanne if it was past her bedtime, and he is also the one who told Ramirez to go back Mexico. According to Scully, Brandon Piekarsky tackled Ramirez, and Derrick Donchak punched Ramirez several times while he was on the ground. Donchak and Scully cursed at Ramirez, and the fight was over. The boys were wakling away when Ramirez punched Scully. At that point Colin Walsh tried to protect his friend and punched Ramirez. Scully said that Ramirez had fallen onto his back with his eyes closed and hands lying by his sides. Scully tried to kick Ramirez, but missed, then Piekarsky kicked the man on the left side of the head. Right after the fight, several guys showed up. One of those guys had a gun and pointed it at Scully.

Scully continues: all the boys met afterward to get their story straight. At this meeting, Piekarsky said he was the kicker and Donchak says he’s glad he didn’t break his knuckles. The next day, Scully was summoned to the police station by Officer Moyer (Shenandoah PD) where he made a ‘false statement’ that omitted the kick and other events. Scully mentions Donchak’s oft-worn “border patrol” T-shirt.

Under cross, Scully says he was protecting everyone, not just himself, although he states that he was drunk that night and may not remember everything accurately. Scully states he is one of the better athletes and plays several sports, to which defense attorney Fanelli asks [paraphrased] ‘but you missed a kick on a motionless target?’ Scully is told about Schlack’s testimony of several figures kicking one prone figure, but an objection stops that line of questioning. (I’ve noticed the judge sustains the DA’s objections a LOT. Just food for thought.) Then Scully says that one fight stopped when Donchak pushed Ramirez away from them, and tells the court that Officer Moyer’s partner, Jason Hayes, is Brandon Piekarsky’s mom’s boyfriend (on redirect). Oh and Scully said Brandon’s shoes were blue and gray that night.

Phew. This story keeps twisting and turning! I hope the jury is taking notes.

Next witness: Colin Walsh, who took a plea deal with the feds and had all state charges dropped just 2 weeks ago. Walsh describes his plea agreement: guilty of violating civil rights under the Fair Housing Act for supposedly intimidating other latinos from moving into the area. (Yeah, I’m a little confused, too). In any regard, Walsh was offered 4-9 years if he cooperated with the feds and testified against Piekarsky and Donchak. He said he also cursed at Ramirez, but Scully was the one who first spoke to Roxanne about being out late and Scully made the ‘racial’ comments. He said that he wasn’t afraid of Ramirez because he was small and there were six of the boys. He testified that after the first fight, Roxanne and Victor Garcia (friend of Ramirez, husband of Arielle) were trying to calm Ramirez down. He said Scully kept making comments, and Ramirez attacked him.  Walsh states that he punched Ramirez with an uppercut and saw him hit his head. He says that he, Piekarsky, Donchak, and Scully all kick Ramirez while he’s down, and that Piekarsky kicked him in the head. He added that it wasn’t right what [Piekarsky] did, kicking a man while he was down.

Walsh also testified that someone ran up to them with a gun. He says that Officer Hayes (Piekarsky’s mom’s boyfriend) gave Brandon a ride back to the scene where Brandon ID’ed the person who had the weapon. He says Piekarsky gave the cops a statement that omitted the kick and that Ramirez started the fight. He said Brandon’s mom told them that Ramirez was life-flown and they needed to get their story straight, adding that Tammy informed them that Roxanne’s story was different from theirs. He says he saw Donchak showing them a piece of metal that Donchak claimed he had the night of the fight, implying he had used it during the altercation.

Walsh says Officer Moyer asked him if he had talked to the other guys, which he assumes meant ‘get your story straight.’ Walsh then gave a false statement to police, minimizing the ‘racial aspects.’ Colin says he was right next to Brandon during the kick.

Colin Walsh On Cross: Fanelli asks if Walsh must impress the feds for a reduced sentence. Colin says he’s willing to do 9 years, but was hoping for 4, and that he didn’t need to impress anyone. Says he saw no missed kick by Scully, and that he did not sucker punch Ramirez. Colin said Brandon’s shoes were gray.

Victor Hugo Garcia Cruz is the next on the stand: Victor says that he and his wife, along with Ramirez and Roxanne were at his house, and that he and Ramirez were drinking. (This would contradict another source’s information that they were swimming at Arielle’s father’s house that afternoon, but we’ll see if that gets brought up by the defense.) Victor continues that he and his wife dropped Ramirez off at the Vine St park with Roxanne. He says he returned to the park (whether he mentioned Ramirez calling him on his cell phone and asking for backup was brought up by Victor, I do not yet know), where he overheard a slur yelled to Ramirez. Says he tried to break a fight between Ramirez and A BOY (not 6 boys). He said he got punched in the back of the head and started to fight back. (All the other witnesses so far said Garcia Cruz did not throw any punches??) He states that he only heard Ramirez hit the ground; he did not see it, but he chased the boy who did it, even though he did not see who it was. He said Ramirez did not respond to his nickname or to ‘slaps in the face’ (cause more head trauma???), and that Ramirez was foaming from the mouth. Garcia says he doesn’t remember his previous statement of shorts, black socks, and white sneakers on the kicker, but the boy was taller and had dark hair. He agrees with other testimony that Ramirez was not wearing a shirt.

Barry Boyer, friend of the teens, is next. Boyer says he saw Brandon get into a cop car and followed them back to the park.Officer Moyer had asked him if he been in the fight too, but he hadn’t been. Boyer says he was present at the ‘get your story straight’ meeting the next day. He says that Brandon pointed out the male who had waved the gun to Officer Moyer, who was then taken into custody. He also mentions the relationship between Tammy Piekarsky and Officer Hayes.

Stephanie Weirzalis, friend of the teens, testifies that Derrick Donchak owned and wore a “border patrol” T-shirt and had a picture of it on her MySpace profile.

Officer John Kaczmarczyk, Mahanoy City PD, was a responder to the scene of the fight, recovered the gun which appeared to be a BB gun. He says Ramirez had a red, swollen face and a shoe-like impression on his chest. Defense tries to ask if an untrained eye might think it’s a real gun, but the DA objects and is (surprise!) sustained. Officer Kaczmarczyk says it resembles a .45 mm automatic pistol.

Richard Examitas, a first responder from Lost Creek, says Ramirez left chest area was bruised and his head was swollen on the right side.


Questions from this day of the trial:

How can Garcia Cruz fight with someone he can’t see, yet still be able to give a description?

Why does Garcia Cruz say he fought with the kicker (who is presumed to be Brandon Piekarsky) and says he was taller and had dark hair, when Brandon is shorter and has lighter hair?

Why do all of the teen boy witnesses use the same exact phrase, “get our story straight?” Someone seems to have coached them, and I don’t mean Tammy Piekarsky, either!

Brian Scully said Brandon kicked Ramirez on the left side of the head, and Roxanne said it was the left shoulder, but Examitas said the RIGHT side of Ramirez’s face was swollen. How can this be? (Don’t tell me the brain hitting the right side caused the damage, because that would make obvious damage to BOTH sides of the head, but the right side would have internal injuries to the brain, and the left would have external injuries with broken bones, not the other way around.)