SCRANTON, Pa. – Jury selection is slated to start in a federal hate crime case against two Pennsylvania men involved in the fatal beating of an illegal immigrant two years ago.
Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak face hate crime charges in the death of 25-year-old Luis Ramirez. The Mexican immigrant died after brawling with a group of high school athletes in July 2008 in the mining town of Shenandoah.
Lawyers are scheduled to begin picking a jury on Monday in federal court in Scranton.
Piekarsky, now 18, and Donchak, now 20, were acquitted of state charges last year by an all-white jury. The town's former police chief and two officers are scheduled to go on trial next year for allegedly sabotaging the investigation.
The defendants claim that Ramirez's ethnicity had nothing to do with the melee and that the federal prosecution is politically motivated.