WHEELING, W.Va. — An Ohio County jury found an out-of-work pipeliner not guilty Friday afternoon in the alleged murder of Wheeling Jesuit University student Kevin Figaniak.

The panel deliberated the murder charge against Craig Peacock for less than an hour before delivering its verdict to a stunned courtroom.

File photo

WJU lacrosse player Kevin Figaniak died a day after the Aug. 31 fight.

Figaniak was out with a friend at a bar in downtown Wheeling on Aug. 31, 2013, when he encountered Peacock and other natural gas pipeline workers. The groups eventually engaged in a street fight, during which Figaniak was punched and kicked in the head. He died less than 24 hours later.

Peacock, of Clearwater, Fla., testified in his own defense Thursday saying he was upset about disrespectful comments Figaniak and his friend made toward the pipeliners but never intended for anyone to die.

Ohio County prosecutors alleged Peacock wanted to fight with Figaniak and kicked him after he had fallen to the street. Defense attorneys said the tragic death was the result of what happens when young men drink too much and act like “tough guys.”

The jury had five choices including not guilty or guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

Those in the courtroom gasped when the not-guilty verdict was read. The Figaniak family began crying and left the courtroom quickly. Peacock hugged his father and was released.

Figaniak was a lacrosse player at WJU.

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  • The jury were idiots

    Omg. Another thug released again. That's ok, I'm sure the big thumb from above will squash this butt hole one day.

  • Jim N Charleston

    Unless there's video, it's a testosterone and alcohol fueled fight that went bad. The defendent had no priors. At most it is involuntary or basic manslaughter.

    A jury of 12 people heard more than any article can tell. Prosecutor must meet a burden of proof. Jury took 30 minutes so obviously burden not met or not met well enough to convict.

    May the victim's family and the defendent have peace & move on. Prayers be with all.

    Im Jim N Myrtle Beach
    All I got

  • Jim slade

    This tragedy was not murder

    Not even close to murder

    But, I find it hard that involuntary manslaughter was not the verdict after reading the victim was kicked on the head while on the ground. These type of fights happen all the time, in all parts of this world. The kick to the head while down was cowardly and without a doubt intended to further harm an already injured person.

    • Patriot WV

      Well said. The defendant should not have walked away free and clear. If you strike or otherwise kick someone resulting in injury or death no matter what is verbally exchanged, you should pay some consequence. You simply can't touch, kick, slap or punch anyone for free. This is a travesty of justice.

  • GB

    Maybe this piece of trash will get what is coming to him sooner than later, it's called karma!

  • Jim

    By the accounts I read, Figiniak threw the first punch. He got what you get sometimes, walking around drunk, picking fights. There is a poster over at despair d0t com that reads, "It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others." Kind of fits.

  • Mike

    What a joke of a legal system we have in WV. I didn't mean to kill him,i am sorry. Ok get out of jail free. Live your life don't worry about the young man you killed. This jury must sure be proud.

    • TheTruthHurts

      I'm frustrated too but there has to be no reasonable doubt. I think he should have gotten manslaughter but that's just me.

  • David

    Why did you see it appropriate to use the "trailer park" comment? Most workers when away from home find inexpensive housing. Do you think a trailer park is bad? Do you think people who live in them are beneath you?

  • wow

    I like the other people posting, were not on the jury and did not hear the case or the jury instructions. It is easy to bash the jury out of emotion, the jury had to have reasons and boundries to follow. The verdict has been given and its done.

    • TheTruthHurts

      I agree it's not fair to bash the jury or prosecution out of emotion. Kevin's friend did not do enough to help the prosecution.

      The three oil and gas workers stuck together and covered for each other.

      Kevin had numerous injuries to the head including the brain stem so they could not prove a kick to the head is what killed him. He was punched by Chandler and hit his head on concrete as he fell backwards and his idiotic friend dropped him two times.

  • Dan

    This is sad day for our justice system. How can this piece of trash get away with murder!!!! Please if there is any justice in this world a civil case need to be presented.

  • John

    Whether intentions were to kill someone or not, it did happen, so how in the name of God did this jury turn this guy loose scott free? At least involuntary manslaughter should have been found. I wonder sometimes what some of these jurors have been smoking before sitting on a panel....Thats the same as saying, "Oh! its alright what you have done- just go on about your merry way and maybe you might have to do the same again sometime" What about others who take this verdict as an ok to kill? GEEZ!

    • TheTruthHurts

      It is not the jury's fault. There was not enough evidence due to a number of things that happened. There has to be no reasonable doubt. Kevin's friend was a huge part of the problem.

      • notorious

        I wouldn't call the guy that the deceased was with a friend. It was his "friend's" smart mouth that caused the incident in the first place.

        Go to the WTRF and WTOV websites. Their articles are more detailed and point out the fact that expert witnesses testified that the punch from the other pipeliner probably killed him. His "friend" tried to pick him up and dropped him multiple times, exacerbating the deceased injuries.

        • TheTruthHurts

          I agree the guy that Kevin was hanging with that night is a complete idiot and did nothing to help the case against the thugs. He should not have kept trying to pick Kevin up. He wanted to take Kevin back to campus because he felt guilty about starting the fight. He didn't want anyone to know what happened.

  • TheTruthHurts

    This is pathetic the guy was part of the murder. Definitely a travesty of justice.
    The PA did the best they could with what they had. The problem is everyone lied and/or used alcohol to try and say they couldn't remember anything. Kevin's friend was totally useless and could not help the case against the thugs at all. He is the ONE person that should have been able to.

  • Jason R.

    I guess when you're a union thug you can do whatever you want including murder.

    • Harvey

      that may be the stupidist, most mindless comment ever posted on this site.

    • NOT Jason R

      Lol.. Jason, your uneducated buddy. The jury found him not guilty. Maybe the PA didn't present the case well. "Union Thugs" , little boy, you hsve lost your mind. Oughta change your name to the Big DBag

      • Diaspora

        It is obviously Obama's fault.

  • Jim Van

    Wow. How many of those on the jury families work for a union and did it influence the vote in any way?? Something is not right with this verdict.

  • DWL

    Guess those "holier than thou" Wheeling Jesuit drunks should have not let their mouths overload their rears. Maybe some more Bible time is needed.

    • Chiefsbaby

      DWL, you are the rudest person, I shall never want to meet in my lifetime . Your comments are such a low below the belt, ignorant, yes, I said ignorant I ever heard! A man is dead and you cut people down just bc he goes to a local college. My son might be going and not bc of the bibles, but a scholarship and God help someone or you if that was my son!

      • DWL

        Baby, Go cry on the snotty kids obituary. In the real world - He's DEAD and he and his snotty drunk buddies caused it. Mr. Peacock did nothing wrong and a jury of his peers agreed. So get over it. Run on down and say a prayer in Wheeling Jesuit's empty chapel 'cause all the holier than thou students are out getting drunk.

    • Mitch

      @ DWL,

      As opposed to classless message board punks.

      • DWL

        Are you one of the Jesuit drunks, or just a drunk? Truth hurts when you nail it!

    • JMR

      No one deserves to die for making fun of a person for being uneducated white trash. The kid got away with murder today. God only knows what kind of backwoods, hideous things were on the jury.

      • TheTruthHurts

        That comment was uncalled for and just as pathetic as Peacock . Get over yourself you're no one special nor better than anyone else. I'm guessing you're from out of state most likely eastern PA. You know nothing about northern WV. Ohio County and the city of Wheeling is not rural at all.

    • Dan

      Classless comment !!!!

      • DWL

        But right on the money!

  • arp

    What a travesty of justice!

    • Chiefsbaby

      100% agreeable