Thursday, April 30, 2009

Breaking News Update

In a somewhat unexpected development at the Schuylkill County Courthouse today, the defense in the Shenandoah beating trial rested their case. All told, Attorneys Fred Fanelli and Jeffrey Markosky called 5 witnesses over two days. Ariel Garcia, wife of Victor Garcia Cruz and friend of Luis Ramirez, testified Wednesday. Today, police officers Robert Senape and Michelle Ashman explained to the jury what they saw on July 12th in Shenandoah. Senape was first on the scene, and recounted his role in the investigation. He stated that he heard Ariel Garcia identify Brian Scully as the person who kicked Ramirez in the head while he lay in the street after the fight ended. He also spoke of the individual, now identifed as Diego Tovar, who came to Ramirez's aid with a BB gun. Garcia testified Wednesday that she was not sure who the "kicker" was. Ashman also told jurors that she heard Ariel Garcia speaking with Shenandoah police officer Jason Hayes of the same. During cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney AJ Serina questioned why this conversation was not noted in her written report. Diego Tovar then took the stand and told the court that Luis Ramirez called him on a cell phone, asking for help because he was engaged in a fight with a group of teenagers. Tovar took a BB pistol to the scene, but said he kept it concealed in his pants, and after questioning the boys about what happened to Ramirez, he said he threw the gun in the bushes. It was recovered at the scene. The final witness was Chief Detective Anthony Carroll of the Schuylkill County DA's office. Attorney Fanelli questioned Carroll at length about his investigation, and questioned why the shoes of the teens involved, specifically Brian Scully's white sneakers, were not seized since they have been the center of questioning throughout the trial. At that point, the defense rested their case. Attorney Fanelli declined comment after the proceedings, as did the District Attorney's office. Derrick Donchak's attorney, Jeffrey Markosky, did offer his assessment as to why the defense didn't call more witnesses:


Judge Baldwin said that closing statements and his charge to the jury would begin at 9am Friday, followed by jury deliberations. Brandon Piekarsky is charged with 3rd degreee murder and related counts, while Derrick Donchak is charged with aggravated assault and associated charges.


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