WHEELING, W. Va. – A Flordia pipeliner accused of murdering a Wheeling Jesuit University student in a fight testified Thursday.
The defense claims Craig Tyler Peacock’s kick to the head, which allegedly was the fatal blow to Kevin Figaniak, was unintentional and that instead it was repeated blows to the head through the course of the fight that caused his death.
On the night of Aug. 30, 2013, Peacock recalled that he and Jarrett Chandler went out to dinner, subsequently met up with another gas worker Tyler Witty for drinks at Figaretti’s and then went to several other bars in Wheeling. Peacock admitted to having more than a dozen drinks.
He said he only recalls some some of the events that transpired next.
Peacock, 22, of Clearwater, Fla., said his group encountered two Wheeling Jesuit students—Figaniak and Tyler Johnson—outside a bar and remembered being agitated with them after some comments. He didn’t remember what comment started the fight.
The state contends Peacock became enraged when his group told the students they were gas industry workers and Johnson replied: “I guess you don’t have to go to school for that.”
Peacock recalled fighting with Johnson while Figaniak and Chandler fought nearby on Locust Avenue. Peacock said his foot came into contact with Figaniak’s head when he was pulled away from Johnson.
Peacock said he thought kicking a man when he is down is wrong, and because his group thought Figaniak had gotten up from the fight, they left the scene without knowing he was lethally wounded.
After the state presented its evidence, the defense asked for an acquittal, claiming there isn’t enough evidence to convict Peacock of a murder charge because there was no intent to kill.
The judge denied the acquittal.
Thursday was the second day of testimony as dozens of witnesses and experts have taken the stand.
Jury instructions and closing arguments will begin at 10 a.m. Friday.
Chandler pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in January and was sentenced him to the maximum one year in jail and a $1,000 fine by Ohio County Circuit Court Judge David J. Sims.