May testified in his own defense.
By Stacy Moniot
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MORGANTOWN — Ryan Diviney may never come out of a coma after the beating he suffered on Nov. 7, 2009 in Morgantown.
The trial of Jonathan May and Austin Vantrease, the two men accused in the beating, continued Thursday, with May taking the witness stand in his own defense.
May was 18 years old at the time and a freshman at West Virginia University. He told jurors that he had been drinking earlier in the evening, but wasn’t “under the influence” by 3 a.m., when he and his friends met Ryan Diviney and his friends at the Dairy Mart.
May said he doesn’t know who started the taunts about sports teams that night, or why, but it quickly escalated into a screaming match between the two groups of friends.
There is also another person that’s shown in the surveillance video with May and his friends, eventually backing Ryan Diviney out of the camera’s view.
May told the jury he’d tried many times to identify that person, but was still unable to remember their identity.
Earlier in the day, both the prosecution and defense called doctors from Ruby Memorial Hospital to testify to Ryan Diviney’s injuries, and just how he could have received them.
The defense team called Dr. Julian Bailes, the head of neurosurgery at WVU Hospitals.
Dr. Bailes told the jury that when Ryan was brought to the hospital, he had a cracked jaw on his right side, and skull fractures on the side and rear of the left side of his head. Dr. Bailes called those injuries the footprint of a “horrific” blow to the head.
Doctors found bleeding in Ryan’s brain right below the skull and under the lining of the brain along with severe bruising. Dr. Bailes testified that the most likely cause of those injuries is falling from a standing position, especially onto something like the raised grate in the Dairy Mart parking lot, but a kick with enough force behind it, like a punt, could have also done the damage, especially if the person wasn’t defending themselves.
Doctors didn’t find any defensive wounds like scrapes or bruises on Ryan’s hands or arms after that night.
Dr. Bailes said whatever improvement Ryan has made in a year, will be all the improvement he’ll make in his life. Ryan remains in a comatose state in a New Jersey hospital.
May’s co-defendant Austin Vantrease told Judge Russel Clawges that he will also take the stand in his own defense.
After his testimony, the jury will decide on a verdict.