WHEELING, W. Va. – A jury heard opening statements and testimony from witnesses in the trial of a shale industry worker accused of fatally beating a Wheeling Jesuit University student.
Craig Peacock of Clewiston, Fla., is charged with fatally beating Kevin Figaniak of Perkasie, Pa., during a confrontation in Wheeling.
A perceived insult towards pipeliners is what lawyers said started the fight that resulted in the death of Figaniak, who sustained head injuries from repeated blows after being knocked unconscious on Sept. 1, 2013.
Testimony from two bartenders, a paramedic and the lead detective for the Wheeling Police Department were heard in court Tuesday. The jury also showed surveillance video of the altercation.
Ohio County assistant prosecutor Shawn Turak said a group of oil and gas workers and two WJU students met at the corner of Carmel Road in Wheeling.
The pipeliners had left the Owl’s Nest bar as Figaniak and his friend were leaving the Ye Olde Alpha.
The argument began after one student mocked the gas workers and continued down the street until Figaniak shoved Jarrett Chandler, who then responded with a punch to the face that knocked Figaniak down. Chandler was already convicted of misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter and has served his time.
Both the prosecutors and the defense agree three different people caused injuries to Figaniak’s head and all five young men were drunk at the time of the fight.
Court ended proceedings at around 6 p.m. but more witnesses are scheduled to testify at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.