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Men convicted of hate crime sentenced to 9 years in prison

By the CNN Wire Staff
Derrick M. Donchak and his co-defendant had previously been acquitted of murder charges in state court.
Derrick M. Donchak and his co-defendant had previously been acquitted of murder charges in state court.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two Pennsylvania men were sentenced to nine years in prison
  • They were convicted of a hate crime in an undocumented Mexican immigrant's death
  • Witnesses say the defendants didn't like Luis Ramirez living in their neighborhood
  • Witnesses also testified that Ramirez was kicked in the head

(CNN) -- Two Pennsylvania men convicted of a hate crime in the beating death of an undocumented Mexican immigrant were each sentenced Wednesday to spend nine years behind bars, according to a U.S. District Court statement.

Derrick Donchak, of Shenandoah, and Brandon Piekarsky, of Shenandoah Heights, were found guilty in federal court in October of several charges, including hate crimes and depriving the victim Luis Ramirez of his civil rights.

The two were acquitted of murder charges in state court and convicted of simple assault.

During the federal trial, witnesses testified that racist language was used before and during the attack and that Ramirez was kicked in the head repeatedly after he fell down. The defendants, they said, didn't want immigrants in their neighborhood and repeatedly ordered Ramirez to leave.

Attorneys for the defendants said the encounter had been no more than a fight fueled by testosterone and alcohol.

Three former Pennsylvania police officers were also charged, accused of trying to cover up the incident.

2010: Hate crime suspects found guilty
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In January, a federal jury found former Shenandoah Police Chief Matthew Nestor and officers William Moyer and Jason Hayes not guilty of conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation in Ramirez's July 2008 death.

Nestor, however, was found guilty of falsifying reports, and Moyer was convicted of lying to the FBI.

Hayes, who was also accused of falsifying police reports, was acquitted of the two charges against him.

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