A few days ago I told you I was going to give an update on something related to Jonathan Matthew May (of Newark, Delaware); convicted along with co-defendant Austin Issac Vantrease (also of Newark, Delaware) in Ryan’s attack. Today is the day. This is where I will give my standard disclaimer that this is my account, I believe it as true, and I am also sharing opinion.
I need to take you back to the sentencing hearings in 2010. Jonathan May’s was the first hearing. At that time he was carted to jail to serve one year (but freed after seven months) and ordered to pay restitution for roughly $75,000 “jointly and severely” with Austin Vantrease. From here on out, all monetary values are approximations.
This type of restitution, as I understand it, is only for the crime itself. For example, the cost of Ryan’s clothes that were damaged when attacked.
More expenses came in and a few months later Austin Vantrease was sentenced. He was ordered to serve two to ten years in prison (currently in Huttonsville Correctional Center) and pay restitution of roughly $100,000 “jointly and severely” with Jonathan May. It was at this time that Jonathan May’s restitution should have been amended (from $75,000 to $100,000), but the court seemed to let it slip. This means May could stick Vantrease with roughly $25,000 if he is not willing to agree to owing it too.
I bet by now you guessed it… he didn’t (according to the Prosecutor’s Office). So, if ever $75,000 is paid then Vantrease is left holding the bag for the remaining $25,000 or so. I guess there really is no honor among criminals. Here is the email verifying it:Monongalia County Victim Witness <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Ken Diviney Re: Restitution Issue
I talked with [the Prosecutor’s Office] and she said that they are not going to be able to amend the restitution on May. She said that if the defendant doesn’t agree with the amended amount then we won’t be able to get the amount. If you have questions please call her at…
So, what does ‘jointly and severely” mean? Well, as I understand it, it’s like co-signing a loan. The bank doesn’t care which one pays, but both are on the hook for it. As for the criminal restitution due to Ryan, I am no different. I don’t care either. Vantrease could pay it all, they could split it 50/50, or come up with some other formula. That’s entirely between those two.
All I know is they owe Ryan $100,000, be it jointly or severely.
I will tell you this though, I am not at all surprised by May’s actions. It validates my opinion that Jonathan May has, and continues to, shirk accountability. Would I be wrong to think of this as cowardly? Also, it wouldn’t be the first time he tried to sacrifice his former cohort, Vantrease. My
advice opinion to anyone who wants to listen is when you see a bus coming just check to make sure Jonathan May isn’t ready to push you under it (or sucker-punch you)… figuratively speaking,
So, this Friday I am attending a court-ordered procedure in West Virginia. Does anyone have a guess at how I’m feeling entering this process after seeing accountability skirted time-after-time (in my opinion)? Sure, I’ll always keep an open mind… but now, maybe not as much.