Wednesday, August 20, 2008

the elephant in the room

I've read several news stories and updates over the past few weeks, updating the allegations and charges against three Shenandoah teens. According to the lastest story, Judge Anthony Kilker confirmed that there was sufficient evidence against Colin Walsh, 17, and Brandon Piekarsky, 16, to try them on counts of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation. Because there is no longer first- and second-degree murder charges against them, these young men will not face possible life in prison sentences if convicted.

The judge also ruled that Derrick Donchak, 18, was ordered to stand trial on aggravated assault.

These young men were involved in an attack that resulted in the death of Luis Ramirez, age 25.

This crime is tragic. And sickening. And clearly a case of young people who acted irratonally and outrageously in the face of an incendiary situation. For reasons only swaggering young men can understand, they overpowered and attacked another young man whom they encountered in a park, in the compnay of a youhng woman. Throw in a racial slur and a "hate crime" component and you have a situation that exploded into violence and murder.

Here's the elephant in the room.

Whatever happened to Joseph P. McTiernan? McTierman, 23, of Mahanoy City, furnished alcohol to these underage men gave alcohol to Donchak, Walsh, and Piekarsky, as well as two other underage men.

I simply can't understand why he is getting away with this. I'm inclined to believe a case could be made on behalf of the young men, including the one who dealt Ramirez his final blow, that absent the alcohol, their swagger and intimidation would have been dialed down quite a few notches that fateful night. They may have called out insults; they may have evn done a little "in your face" shouting...but murder? Literally kicking a man while he was down?

That's beer guts. Or in this case, malt liquor guts. They deserve to be heard in court but if the eyewitnesses are telling the truth, I also believe they deserve to punished according to the law. But so does McTiernan. He broke the law that initiated this horrible event.

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