ST. MARYS, W.Va. —The state Parole Board granted parole Wednesday to a Delaware man who was convicted after a 2009 fight that left Ryan Diviney, a student at West Virginia University, in a coma.
The board agreed that Austin Vantrease, 23, should be released after serving four years behind bars. He was granted ‘deferred parole’ until corrections officials in the state of Delaware can approve his home plan.
Vantrease and co-defendant Jonathan May were charged in connection with the Nov. 2009 fight that happened near the Willey Street Dairy Mart in Morgantown. Vantrease was sentenced after his July 2010 conviction to 2-10 years for malicious assault. He kicked Diviney in the head after he had fallen to the ground. May, who threw the initial punch, was in jail for seven months.
Vantrease would have likely been released from prison next year after serving half of his sentence and that release would have included no supervision. Ryan Diviney’s father, Ken Diviney, said he wasn’t shocked at the board’s decision because members wanted to maintain some control over Vantrease.
“I think they were so concerned about him being in society that they wanted to maintain that sort of supervision over him,” Diviney said.
Diviney added he had no concern for Vantrease personally but did have concern for anyone that he confronted in a convenience store parking lot in the future.
Vantrease has been serving time at the St. Marys Correctional Center. Three members of the parole board held a hearing there Wednesday.