Pa. hate crime verdicts in immigrant death upheld

June 18, 2012 - 6:35 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An appeals court has upheld the federal hate crime convictions of two Pennsylvania men in the beating death of an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Monday also affirmed the nine-year prison sentences imposed on 19-year-old Brandon Piekarsky and 21-year-old Derrick Donchak, who were convicted of violating the civil rights of 25-year-old Luis Ramirez.

They were among a group of high school football players involved in a July 2008 fight in Shenandoah with Ramirez, who died two days later.

Federal charges were filed after a Schuylkill (SKOO'-kul) County jury acquitted the two of state charges including murder.

Donchak says he was the victim of incorrect applications of law and insufficient facts. Piekarsky says there was insufficient evidence to convict him on federal charges.