Republican Herald reports:
Derrick M. Donchak, 20, of Shenandoah, and Brandon J. Piekarsky, 18, of Shenandoah Heights, must appear at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 4 in Courtroom 3 of the Max Rosenn United States Courthouse, Wilkes-Barre, for the start of their trial, which could put each behind bars for life. U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo, who is presiding over the case, issued an order Thursday in which he scheduled the start of the trial and gave each defendant until May 15 to file pretrial motions and supporting briefs. Caputo ruled the interests of justice justified extending the time for filing such motions and briefs.
The federal trial is for the beating of Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala. Donchak and Piekarsky are each charged with a HATE CRIME in connection with the fatal beating of Ramirez, 25, of Shenandoah, on July 12, 2008, on a borough street. Donchak also faces charges of obstruction of justice in connection with the beating.
Three former Shenandoah police officers, Matthew R. Nestor, William Moyer and Jason Hayes, also face charges in connection with allegedly obstructing the investigation of Ramirez's beating. Nestor, Moyer and Hayes were police chief, lieutenant and officer, respectively. In an unrelated case, Nestor and former Shenandoah police captain Jamie Gennarini are charged with extorting money from illegal gambling operations in the borough. All four former police officers have resigned their positions with the borough. Like Donchak and Piekarsky, they are on home detention pending the starts of their trials.