2009-04-23 / Local & State

Charges Dropped In Beating Death

POTTSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - An eastern Pennsylvania prosecutor says charges have been dropped against one of three teenagers arrested in the beating death of an illegal immigrant from Mexico last year.

Schuylkill County District Attorney James Goodman said the case against 17-year-old Colin Walsh was dismissed because he had entered a plea in federal court. The document he filed in court seeking dismissal of the case did not specify the federal charges.

Heidi Havens, a spokewoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, declined comment. Listed phones for Walsh's attorney, Roger Laguna Jr., rang unanswered Saturday.

Seventeen-year-old Brandon Piekarsky and 19-year-old Derrick Donchak are scheduled to go on trial April 27 in the death of 25-year-old Luis Ramirez. Authorities have alleged a racial motivation for the July 12 attack in Shenandoah, about 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Goodman declined to say Friday whether Walsh will testify against his former co-defendants.

Walsh could have faced a 20- to 40-year prison term if he had been convicted of third-degree murder. He was also charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault and ethnic intimidation.

Piekarsky, is charged with third-degree murder, and he and Donchak, also of Shenandoah, are charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, and ethnic intimidation.

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