I just sent out the following press release. I primarily targeted the state of West Virginia, the Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia area, and Delaware. We’ll see if the Delaware news agencies run the story, but their history would indicate that’s a long shot. Strange how they ignore top local stories on the AP wire…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WV High Court: No New Trial for Vantrease in Diviney Case
Vantrease filed appeal of 2-10 year sentence
Morgantown, West Virginia – October 26, 2011 – On Tuesday the West Virginia State Supreme Court ruled not to grant a new trial to Austin Vantrease. Vantrease was one of the two men convicted of the November 7, 2009 brutal attack that left Ryan Diviney in a coma-like state. Vantrease and May were convicted in a July 2010 jury trial — Vantrease of felony malicious assault and May of battery. May was sentenced to one year in jail and was released after serving just seven months.
Austin Vantrease, 20, who is currently serving a two- to 10 years sentence for felony malicious assault. Vantrease filed the appeal last spring to the High Court through his attorney Lance Rollo.
In the petition, Rollo said his client is entitled to a new trial because Vantrease’s previous attorney didn’t ask for a separate trial from his co-defendant, Jonathon May. Rollo further claimed the trial court gave the jury an incomplete instruction about the inference of intent.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justices disagreed and affirmed the lower court’s decisions. “Upon consideration of the standard of review, the petition, and the record presented, the court finds no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error”.
Prosecutors and witnesses said May punched Diviney in the head after an argument about the World Series. Diviney fell and struck his head, rendering him unconscious. Vantrease then repeatedly kicked Diviney the head.
West Virginia Supreme Court provides 30 days for Vantrease to ask the court to reconsider, else the decision becomes final. If Vantrease wants to appeal it further, he’d need to request it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ken Diviney, Ryan Diviney’s dad, said that in Vantrease trying anything to get his conviction overturned was another example of his unwillingness to accept responsibility. He went on to say that Vantrease is milking the system at the expense of West Virginia citizens. “It’s now time to be accountable to Ryan”, he said. Ryan Diviney remains in a coma-like state and receives round-the clock care in his family’s Virginia home.