Yesterday morning Austin Vantrease had his parole hearing. It was the first opportunity for him to be released and, true to form, he jumped at the chance. I suppose he never consider that he belongs in prison and his efforts to get out put stress on the victim’s family. To me, it’s just another indicator of no remorse.
I have plenty to write about it too. It’s taking everything in me not to write about it right now. The best way to do this, for the benefit of the reader, is to spread it all out over several posts in the coming days. I promise you, it’s good stuff. As a sneak peek, perhaps the most impressive and heartwarming things was community sentiment. I plan on writing about just how much this helped too. It was so overwhelming that the Parole Board made a huge point of it.
Aside from this, I’ll recap what I said on behalf of Ryan in my victim impact statement. Hell, I might just post my speaking notes. Austin Vantrease had the opportunity to speak and it’s worth passing on to you. I’ll spend a day, saving the most entertaining for last, filling you in on (Pattie) Gale Vantrease’s statement. Fair warning, hold onto your hats for this one!
Today, though, the only news worth knowing is Austin Vantrease had his parole denied.
So, what I’ll do is go out and grab the media’s coverage; which has already begun even before a press release was sent. I’ll compile these in the Newsroom section of the website (under the “Parole” tab) for you to read as I add them. This way, the media can outline what went down and I’ll fill-in with detail and color. I know the media was in attendance, but their article hasn’t hit the internet yet. I’m anxious to read their article.
For now, below is the press release that recently went out.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Diviney Attacker Denied Parole
Austin Vantrease continues serving felony sentence
Huttonsville Correctional Center, Huttonsville, West Virginia – August 28, 2012 – The West Virginia State Parole Board denied Austin Vantrease early release from his 2-10 year sentence. The parole hearing was held within the Huttonsville Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison housing violent offenders, where Vantrease is currently incarcerated. This was the first opportunity and attempt for Vantrease’s parol.
Vantrease was one of the two men convicted of the brutal November 7, 2009 attack in a parking lot just off the WVU campus that left Ryan Diviney in a coma-like state. Vantrease and May, both of Newark, Delaware, were convicted in a July 2010 criminal jury trial in Morgantown, West Virginia. Vantrease was found guilty of felony malicious assault and May of battery. May was sentenced to one year in jail and was released in April 2011 after serving just seven months.
Also injured in the attack was Diviney’s friend and college roommate, Brian McLhinney. According to court testimony, Vantrease knocked-out McLhinney with a punch to the face before kicking an already unconscious Diviney – resulting from a blind-side punch from Jonathan May – in the head several times as he lay defenseless on the ground. An eyewitness described it as though Vantrease was “punting a football”. Ryan Diviney’s father, Ken Diviney, and McLhinney filed a joint civil lawsuit last year against six men they claim were involved in the attack, to include Vantrease and May. The trial is scheduled for next summer.
Ken Diviney maintains a popular website, ryansrally.org, where he gives an almost daily update on his son’s condition and shares his thoughts and opinions, often about his son’s attackers and their family. The website’s content was unsuccessfully legally challenged by Vantrease earlier this year. A Federal Court dismissed the restraining order motion on the premise that freedom of speech transcends, allowing Mr. Diviney to continue posting content.
Vantrease will again be eligible for parole in a year.
Note: If you want to read about the verbal statements given by Austin Vantrease, Me, and Austin’s mother, I put together a four part series. You can start reading them here (after reading this one).