For the sake of those readers who might not know the history, I thought I’d run the media accounts of the trial from exactly on year ago. On day one, it is clear that May sucker-punched Ryan when he wasn’t looking and Vantrease repeatedly kicked him in the head “like punting a football”.
The defense tried, unsuccessfully, to paint it as a mutual fight. But, it was clearly an attack as proven in video and testimony. Completely one-sided. Appearently, the worse Ryan might have done is said “Phillies suck”, and that’s not entirely sure. Anyhow, you can be the judge of who did what…
It took Monongalia County prosecutors and defense attorneys most of Tuesday to choose a 12-member jury to hear a highly publicized beating case involving former WVU students.
Jonathan May, 18, and Austin Vantrease, 18 of Newark, Delaware are charged with malicious assault for the 2009 beating of fellow student Ryan Diviney who remains in a vegatative state because of a severe head injury suffered in the beating.
The jury heard opening statements Wednesday morning followed by the first prosecution witnesses.
Prosecutors say the three were arguing over the Yankees-Phillies World Series in the parking lot of the Willey Street Dairy Mart near downtown Morgantown last November when a fight broke out. Diviney and his friends were headed to the convenience store to get something to eat while the others were heading home for the night from a party.
During the opening statements assistant prosecutor Peri DeChristopher described the event as “pointless, senseless and ridiculous.” She went on to say that Vantrease and May attacked Diviney while he was retreating with one of them hitting Diviney so hard that he knocked him to the ground with his feet flailing into the air and that the other kicked him in the head while he lay unconcious on the ground.
The defense says the young men had no intent to permanantly harm Diviney and that it was a mutual fight. May’s attorney Ray Yackel told jurors that, “as tragic as it wsa that night or as tragic as it continues to be it was a fight between young men who were all drinking on a football Friday in Morgantown. It was a stupid and senseless fight, but no one meant for this to happen.”
Yackel went on to tell the jury that May will testify in his own defense and that he hit Diviney because he believed Diviney was going after Vantrease.
The first police officer to arrive on the scene testified Wednesday morning that Diviney was unresponsive, lying on his side with blood coming from his mouth and ear when he arrived on the scene.
A WVU student living in Arnold Hall across the street testified that he saw the whole fight and that one man threw Diviney to the ground knocking him out and then kicked him several times while he was lying motionless on the ground. he described the final kick to the head as “brutal and unnecessary.”
Diviney suffered a severe head injury that could have either been caused by hitting his head on a metal plate in the parking lot or from a kick to the head.
Currently Diviney is in a New Jersey Hospital being treated for injury-related pneumonia and silent seizures. He also has a significant blood clot in his leg according to the website Ryan’s Rally which is dedicated to keeping friends and others updated on his condition.
Vantrease and May’s trial is expected to last the rest of the week.
Note: Please help me remember everything you can about the day.