I don’t know how I managed not to see or hear about this atrocity.  It must have been all the ecstasies over Obama’s election to the Presidency that the news was drowned out.  In fact, the murders were discovered some two weeks before.  Someone over at Jack & Jill Politics linked the story update yesterday; of course, the Reichwing have been braying about this for all its been worth since November.   Under oath during the preliminary hearing of the four black Marines charged with the killings, a top investigator who surveyed the murder scene confirmed that  race was a factor in the murder of the Pietrzaks.  The Marines were jealous and enraged that Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak had just married their sergeant and superior officer, Jan Pawel Pietrzak– and refused to give them the time of day.

“N—– Lover” was written on the wall near the master bedroom and on a bathroom mirror, Riverside County Homicide Investigator Benjamin Ramirez testified at a preliminary hearing, according to the News. But even more shocking, prosecutors say, is the fact that those responsible for the brutal homicide of the 24-year-old Marine and his 26-year-old wife are four Black fellow Marines.

Prosecutors allege that the Marines – Pvt. Emrys John, 18; Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, 20; Pvt. Kesuan (Psycho) Sykes, 21 and Pvt. Kevin Cox, 20 – burst into the Pietrzak’s home in Temecula, Calif., with shotguns, and tied up and tortured the couple. They also repeatedly raped Quiana, before John shot them both in the head, prosecutors say.

Why it took so long for the authorities to confirm that it was a hate crime is beyond comprehension. Were they under pressure by the Marines to limit the scope of the investigation?    The Wikipedia entry on the couple have links to several crime reporters’ stories intimating that the brutality of the murders could not have been motivated by simple robbery; that there had to be a much stronger reason why.  Furthermore, the bereaved mothers, Henryka Pietrzak-Varga and Glenda Faye Williams-Jenkins have steadfastly refused to believe the findings of Riverside D.A.’s Dan DeLimon’s office.

The victims’ mothers wept during the two-day hearing.

“We’re going to visit our children at the grave,” Henryka Pietrzak-Varga of Bensonhurst said later. “That’s all we have left after this.”

Three things jump out at me about these murders:


  1. Sgt. Pietrzak was a Polish immigrant who became an American.  He was immediately drawn to Quiana Jenkins for herself.  I have heard about  young white men in the military who have been marrying African American women (as well as Asian Americans and Latina Americans).  As a new American, Pietrzak, in choosing his wife, seemed immune from racism predicating his actions on important decisions like marriage.   Most Americans from immigrant  backgrounds have tended to shy away from African Americans, because we were/are considered to be the bottom of the standard of what is an American.  There were the exceptions found among every European immigrant group that has come to the United States: Italians, Irish, Greeks, Germans and now Polish. When I have seen biracial couples on television, usually during a news program about military issues, the couples look well-spoken, if not well-dressed, and appear as if they are going places and doing things, except for this obstacle or problem.  Racism is not the issue.  As there are fewer black men who are not going to jail, black women sometimes can’t always be picky.  They have to find someone with mutual interests, who treats them well, and who will love them.  Sgt. Pietrzak loved his wife.  He loved Quiana, and she loved him. I am convinced of that from all I have read and from the wedding photographs.  She was “a good girl.”  The girl next door who had a master’s degree, and a responsible role in providing information and care for black infants.  And he was a good guy and a good friend who loved his country.  They were newlyweds who were going places until these creatures broke into their home and ended their lives.

  3. Sgt. Pietrzak came from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York.  Yes, that Bensonhurst.  Bensonhurst was the scene of one of the most despicable race incidents in New York City during the Eighties:  the baseball-bat beating and shooting of 16-year-old Yusef Hawkins, which resulted, by the way, from race jealousy by the mostly young male Italian Americans.  Nowadays, Bensonhurst is more like a little United Nations than the predominantly Italian American community that it was at the time of Hawkins’ slaying.  Eastern Europeans, East Indians and Bangladeshi, Latinos and Asians now live there.  So things may have changed in Bensonhurst by the time Pietrzak grew up into manhood.  Enough for him to see Quiana as she was, not as a color or a threat.

  5. There have been various articles in the blogosphere about the paucity of recruits to fight the illegal war in Iraq.  Blacks in particular have shied away from joining in record numbers after hearing the worst from friends and relatives and the news.   I’ve read of recruiting officials trying to get as many bodies as they can, using any possible inducement.  In desperation, they’ve also recruited pronounced neo-Nazi types, misfits, ex-cons and gang members affiliated with the Crips and Bloods into the armed forces. These kinds of guys kill with no recriminations whatsoever for their actions.  If they are the kinds of men we have loosed on the Iraqis, it’s a wonder that the insurgency and Al Sadr hasn’t done worse to us. Reading some of the comments to the articles about this killing, some former and current military men and Marines have piped up to say that these young men, who were still privates after a few years, were possibly a problem for the military before their rampage, and did not subscribe to the Marine motto of semper fi.

Such a waste.  Such a terrible waste.  My prayers go out to the mothers of these wonderful people.  People talk about giving their best; their children were their best.

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