|Publication:The Dominion Post;||Date:Apr 14, 2011;||Section:Local;||Page Number:1-B|
Attacker wants to leave jail Asks judge to change Diviney sentence BY BRANDY BRUBAKER The Dominion Post
One of the men convicted of the 2009 attack that left WVU student Ryan Diviney comatose is asking a judge to reconsider his sentence.
A jury convicted Austin Vantrease, 19, of Newark, Del., of malicious assault. He was sentenced to two to 10 years in prison and has been in jail since October.
His attorney, Lance Rollo, filed a motion in Monongalia County Circuit Court asking Judge Russell Clawges to reconsider the sentence he levied in November.
A hearing is scheduled for May 16 to consider the motion.
Rollo presents two options in his motion — release Vantrease on probation or transfer him to the Anthony Correctional Center. The center is a rehabilitative program for youthful offenders, which takes six months to two years to complete. If the offender gets kicked out of the program, the judge has the option of making him serve his original sentence. If the offender completes the program, he is released on probation.
“The facility is designed for offenders just like Austin,” Rollo wrote in his motion. “In fact, the offenders currently and previously housed at ACC range from sexual offenders to drug dealers and armed robbers. All of whom are being given the opportunity to benefit from what ACC has to offer. Clearly, Austin is the type of person who would not only benefit from this program but would succeed there, as well.”
Rollo cited a positive report prepared by the center’s diagnostic unit when Vantrease was sent there for a 60-day evaluation to assist the judge in choosing his sentence.
He said Vantrease has only had one incident in the regional jail system since his incarceration in which he was accused of creating a disturbance. He said Vantrease had a 3.2 GPA at the University of Delaware prior to his arrest, volunteered for charities, and has the support of his parents and his sister.
Prosecuting Attorney Marcia Ashdown said in a response to the motion that she opposes a change in Vantrease’s sentence.
“The state’s opposition to the motion is based upon the aggravated nature of the defendant’s conduct that led to the life-altering and, in many ways, life-ending injuries to the victim,” she wrote. Nothing has changed since the judge delivered his sentence, she said.
Vantrease’s co-defendant, Jonathon May, 20, also of Newark, Del., was convicted of misdemeanor battery and is serving a one-year sentence. His attorney, Ray Yackel, previously said May does not intend to challenge his sentence.