UPDATE: VERDICT IN --
1. Piekarsky: guilty of simple assault. Acquitted on all other charges.
Kicker Piekarsky Jubilant!
2. Donchak: guilty of simple assault, and 3 charges each for corruption of minors and selling/furnishing alcohol to minors, acquitted on all other charges.
NO JUSTICE! MURDERERS ONLY Slightly slapped on the hand for murdering a young father by brutally kicking him in the head as he lay unconcsious! And the KILLER is JUBILANT!
The Ramirez (Kick in the Head) Murder Trial began Monday 4/27/09, and continues today. The Republican/Herald is running a LIVE Blog. They have a reporter in the courtroom who is sending summarized updates which I am posting to this blog.
The Prosecution and Defense deliver their Closing Arguments.
Friday, 5/01: (all times Eastern)
8:37: Piekarsky and Donchak have arrived in the courthouse.
9:03: Markosky (Donchak's lawyer) begins closing arguments for defense. Markosky: Redmond is the only one who was sober and did not change his initial statement. Markosky: Redmond said Donchak didn't arrive until after the initial exchange of comments. Markosky: "make no mistake: those two (Donchak and Ramirez) engaged in a fist fight." Markosky: There was no metal, and Donchak's involvement ended when he pulled Ramirez to his feet after their altercation. Markosky: testimony says Donchak and Ramirez grabbed each other--tough to do with a weapon in hand. Markosky: no testimony puts the weapon in Donchak's hands at the scene. Markosky on Walsh and Scully: "they want others to take the fall for their actions." Markosky on "Border Patrol" shirt: "a t-shirt is not an expression of what that person believes. It's a t-shirt." Markosky: I didn't question many of the witnesses because they didn't mention Donchak. Markosky: it was Donchak who called the police--you don't do that if you're guilty.
9:38: Fanelli (Piekarsky's lawyer) begins closing statement. Fanelli: prosecution "shaped" evidence to fit their story of racially motivated crime. Fanelli: prosecution alleged "sophisticated cover-up" but called no investigating officers. Fanelli: no testimony said Piekarsky used slurs. Fanelli: prosecution was rude on cross-exam to police in open court--imagine the pressure the kids they called must have felt. Fanelli: Schlack's testimony said a beating, but her 911 tape said fighting "each other". Fanelli: prosecution did not call Arielle Garcia, who saw white shoes on kicker. Fanelli: "not calling the eyewitness...is that in helping you determine the truth?" Both defense lawyers have spoken about responsibility for one's actions, mentioning Ramirez attacking after the boys walked away. Fanelli: Lawson was scared too--he'd drank, lied to police, and beat on the Garcias vehicle. Fanelli: "Ben Lawson would blame that desk if he thought that's what he was supposed to do." Fanelli working to discredit some of the boys in the group. Fanelli: Scully was first at the police station the next day; "his plan from day 1 was to distance himself from all of this". Fanelli on Scully: "this is the same kid who told an FBI agent 'shred one of my statements'". Fanelli: Walsh had charges dropped in return for testifying about Piekarsky's and Donchak's involvement. Fanelli: Arielle Garcia on white shoes: "it's a picture that plays out in my mind". Fanelli: Arielle's 911 tape said "someone kicked him in the face...I know the names". Fanelli: Garcia said "you killed him" to Scully and does not recall a denial. Fanelli: prosecution "didn't call the cops to testify, they attacked the cops when they testified." Fanelli: Bollinger told us "it's in my report, you go figure it out" yet was a a paid prosecution consultant and met with them 7 to 9 times. Fanelli: it was implied Shen. cops were "in on it", yet D.A. Office was on case at 2:30 a.m. and started interviews at 9 a.m. Fanelli: it's unfair that Det. Carroll didn't have eyewitnesses examine the shoes. Fanelli: "You know that the key to their freedom is in Brian Scully's bedroom, and you don't go and get it?" Fanelli: "There is not only reasonable doubt in this case--there is overwhelming doubt." Fanelli to jurors: would you decide something important in your life based on testimony by Scully, Walsh and Lawson? Fanelli's final point: if you think it is possible Scully kicked Ramirez, there is reasonable doubt.
Recess until 11:10 a.m. Defense's closing arguments ran nearly as long as the entirety of its' direct examination.
Note: The item in question in Scully's bedroom was the shoes.
11:14: Frantz delivering closing arguments for the prosecution. Frantz: defense's version of events is "fiction." Frantz: this case is not about boys who were concerned for Roxanne Rector--Scully's comments were "sarcastic". Frantz: Ramirez called for help, not back-up--a husband who tried to break up the fight and wife who broke down on the stand. Frantz: BB gun was a red herring; this is not about self-defense. Frantz: "We got the right guy." Frantz: we have walked jury through evidence puzzle "piece by piece by piece until you saw the picture".
Sent to Jury
8:42pm: Fatigue is starting to set in for members of the press and public who have been at the courthouse since 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
9:01pm: liveblogrh: Six hours have passed since the jury began its deliberations.
10:07: liveblogrh: Jury recalled for a question--they asked Baldwin to go over the charge of reckless endangerment.
10:30: liveblogrh: The jurors returned for another question, and Baldwin again explained the definition of ethnic intimidation.
10:31: liveblogrh: Sources are starting to buzz about a verdict coming tonight.
10:39: liveblogrh: Verdict is in.
10:48: liveblogrh: Piekarsky: guilty of simple assault. Acquited on all other charges.
10:50: liveblogrh: Donchak: guilty of simple assault, and 3 charges each for corruption of minors and selling/furnishing alcohol to minors, all others acquitted. Note: Consumption of liquor by a minor is a summary offense and Baldwin will rule.
10:53: liveblogrh: Both ethnic intimidation charges and Piekarsky's criminal homicide charges were dropped.
11:06: liveblogrh: The defendants had no comment. Donchak's eyes seemed watery, Pierkarsky was jubilant. liveblogrh: Look for comments from Fanelli, Goodman and the jury foreperson in our wrap-up article.
11:14: liveblogrh: This concludes tonight's coverage and the trial as a whole. Thank you for following our live coverage this week.