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Old 08-26-2008, 11:37 AM
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POTTSVILLE, Pa. Two small-town teenagers charged with murder and ethnic intimidation in the beating death of a Mexican man were granted bail Tuesday.

Schuylkill County Judge William Baldwin set bail at $50,000 each for Brandon Piekarsky, 16, and Colin Walsh, 17. The two, who are white, are charged with third-degree murder in the July 12 beating of Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah.

Prosecutors did not contest bail. Piekarsky and Walsh have been held without bail since their arrests July 25.

A third defendant, Derrick Donchak, 18, is charged with aggravated assault and other offenses. He posted bail soon after his arrest.

All three teens played football last year at Shenandoah Valley High School; Donchak, who was the quarterback, has since graduated.

Ramirez, a 24-year-old illegal immigrant, died after he crossed paths with a group of teens in a darkened park. The attack drew condemnation from immigrants' rights groups, who have held vigils in Shenandoah and protested outside a hearing last week. The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the beating.

Defense lawyers have said that the encounter was a street fight that ended tragically and argue that it was not motivated by ethnicity even if slurs might have been used.

Authorities have said a fourth teen was involved and plan to charge him as a juvenile.

Prosecutors had previously agreed to drop charges of first- and second-degree murder against the two, saying there was a lack of evidence.

Defendants in Pa. immigrant slaying granted bail | National news | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle (broken link)
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