Note: The following post (just like this entire website) is my opinion and the truth as I understand it.
Several weeks ago — in early June — I received an official-looking envelope from the West Virginia Department of Corrections. I knew what it was before even opening it. It was to tell me that Austin Vantrease applied for parole and a hearing would be scheduled sometime in late-July. I didn’t open the letter for some time… three weeks, to be exact. I put it aside until Father’s Day and my birthday passed. I finally opened it and called the Parole Board office, as instructed, to find out the specifics.
Monday, July 22, 2013 at 10:00 am. Please keep that date in mind.
In less than a month Austin Vantrease (of Newark, Delaware) could walk out of prison. If so, he will have only served three years for his horrific crime that cost my son his future. A free man, perhaps, but still greatly in debt. He could thumb his nose at the Huttonsville Correction Center, the West Virginia Criminal Justice System, and my family but still not be close to fulfilling his obligation to society in general, and to Ryan specifically.
Let’s not forget, there’s still the matter of over $100,000 in criminal restitution that he and his co-attacker, Jonathan May (also of Newark, Delaware), are on the hook to repay. I wonder if they even realize that it’s accumulating interest? I believe the last time I calculated it the amount was around $125,000. That’s nothing compared to the $22,000,000 (twenty-two million dollars) claim against them in the civil suit.
Ugh! So, once again I’ll likely not sleep the night before. What’s the point? I’ll head out into the darkness in the wee hours of the morning. I’ll make the four or five-hour drive on the hairpin, hilly, winding roads. I’ll be under guard-protection as I’m taken into the parole hearing. Then, after all that, I’ll speak for my son in the form of a Victim Impact Statement.
Did you know I have the option of doing this with either Vantrease present or not. I want this poor excuse of a human-being to hear every word I say. I want his enabling family and that hack-attorney to hear it too! Yep, there’s a few things Ryan would want said as they have to sit there and face the music. I will not let him down in speaking the truth… that’s a promise!
Hell, I’m happy to do it for him!
Then I suspect I’ll get to hear the family matriarch, Gale Vantrease (or her subordinate husband, Bob), say anything and everything to get her violent felon-son out of the clink. I wonder if she’ll try the same approach as last year? I sure hope so! One thing about these people is that just don’t learn from their mistakes, so she just might try it again. If the circumstances weren’t so serious, I’d call her statement a joke. Read my account of Gale Vantrease’s statement given last year here.
The thing is, I have more than ever to keep Austin Vantrease’s sorry ass in prison. He has not acted at all like a remorseful criminal. He has not demonstrated civil accountability. In fact, on the contrary. I’ll be sure to point these out… with examples! In the end though, it will come down to the decision of the Parole Board.
“My heart swelled when a Parole Board member held up reams of citizen letters and said it is the most ever received! I could practically hear the prison door slam in Vantrease’s face.”
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I pleaded with you to not be silent on this, for Ryan’s sake and the sake of society. Not then, and not this time either. I look to you —and for you — to fight this injustice. It’s a fact that community sentiment is highly considered for Vantrease’s release. Oh, how my heart swelled last year when a Parole Board member held up reams of citizen letters and said it is the most ever received! I could practically hear the prison door slam in Vantrease’s face.
All Austin Vantrease could do is hang his head.
West Virginia State Parole Board
1409 Greenbrier Street
Charleston, WV 23511-0700
Dear Sir or Madam:
Please deny parole for Austin Vantrease, based on the violent nature of his crime. He kicked a defenseless man in the head, lying unconscious on the ground, with such force it was described as “like punting a football”. Instead of offering aid or requesting medical response, Austin Vantrease ran away and hid from the obvious life-threatening damage he caused. He was hoping not to be found accountable.
His lack of remorse, civil unaccountability, and failure in good-faith retribution makes him a continued risk to the safety of the public and the Diviney family.
Just as last year, I will tell everyone as quickly as I can — be it good or bad — on the results of the parole hearing. I’ll probably do this on Ryan’s Facebook Fan page or his Twitter page, since it is the quickest. I recall sitting in the parking lot of the prison, on my smartphone, doing this (waiting for the reception to improve momentarily). The crazy thing is, somehow people already found out beforehand. It seemed that the story hit the news outlets, social media, and AP Wire within minutes!