Jury selection is under way in a federal hate crime case against two white Pennsylvania men involved in the fatal beating of an illegal immigrant two years ago.

Prosecutors say Brandon Piekarsky and Derrick Donchak attacked 25-year-old Luis Ramirez because of his ethnicity. The Mexican immigrant died after brawling with a group of high school athletes in July 2008 in the old mining town of Shenandoah, Pa.

Lawyers began picking a jury Monday in federal court in Scranton.

The two defendants were acquitted of serious 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.


Information from: Pottsville Republican and Herald, http://www.republicanherald.com