Notice! Be clear, like all content on this website, this post is my account, opinion, recollection, and truth as I believe it.
By now most know Austin Vantrease was flatly denied parole. This was his second failed attempt to get out of prison.
I’ll tell everyone what I presented to the Parole Board in a future post. Heck, maybe I’ll just upload my notes that I spoke from. By for today I’ll jump over this and Austin Vantrease’s statement (and curiously timed apology) and get to what I considered the most entertaining. But, for those who are interested, you can read about the hearing from a reporter (Brandy Brubaker) of the Dominion post. She was at the hearing and here is the article.
On behalf of the felon’s support system, Bob Vantrease (Austin’s father), stepped to the podium. I just wasn’t expecting him to be the one chosen to speak for the supporters because of his casual appearance. The best way I can describe my thoughts were he would fit in perfectly at a company picnic. He spoke for only what felt like minutes, but I certainly didn’t have a stopwatch on it. He began by pointing out that Austin is big into nutrition. I’m still trying to find the relevance in this information. He acknowledged our family’s lifestyle. He (what I considered) spun more propaganda, saying Austin has always been consistent in his account and even turned himself in to the police. Well… yes… but… it was only after Austin had his ass pulled out of class by the Morgantown police and was told to report to West Virginia to face the charges.
Bob Vantrease began to discuss how his violent, felon son is being portrayed in the media and social media. Turns out, the Parole Board had something to say about this. To paraphrase, they volunteered their opinion that they think it is foolish how people put out information. That “once it’s out there, it’s there forever”. I’m not sure how Austin’s father took it, but I wonder if he received the same message I did. Namely, statements saying Austin is a scapegoat, Austin was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Austin was wrongfully convicted, Austin is not the only one to blame, and so on can be quite damaging.
I could practical hear testicles retracting. Bob Vantrease abruptly said, “That’s all I have” and returned to his seat.
I’m not sure it was appropriate for Vantrease’s civil suit attorney, Heather Noel, to make a statement. But she did. I’m curious if she sensed just how badly that last statement was received — I characterize it as a crash-and-burn — and was attempting to salvage the situation. Anyhow, it seemed to me that her presentation was entirely based on the premise that Austin was young at the time of the crime and it was fueled by alcohol. Turns out, her contribution appeared to be a HUGE blunder. Why? Because Austin has failed to complete — ah, as I recall, more accurately, even begin — his “Alcohol” class. Doh!
Everyone was removed from the area to allow the Parole Board to deliberate. When we were brought back in it was quick to learn that Vantrease was denied parole. I sat, stoic, until the Vantrease family was escorted from the area. Then…
I cried into my daughter’s hand.
Notice! Be clear, like all content on this website this post is my account, opinion, recollection, and truth as I believe it.