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.

File photo

Austin Vantrease was granted parole Wednesday by the state Parole Board.

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.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Laura Young

    There is no justice. Our system is so corrupt!

  • Laura Young

    There is no justice, our system is so corrupt!

  • kyle

    Part of me is scared to be outside if i ever saw him. And part of me wants him to feel what Ryan felt, and what his family feels. Maybe then will this POS family understand that Austin went way out of line. I know if I ever did something so selfish my parents would disown me. Hes killed another person, over a sport. What a shame. I hope karma comea his way, and soon. I hope he understands how Ryan's family feels and the pain they have to go through seeing him in the state hes in. Its infuriating.

  • tara pyles

    Somethg is defintly wrong with our system . Its a shame they ought to get life after all deviney and his family did.

  • L.A. Martin

    When will Ryan be released from the hell Vantrease put him in?! Never! Shame on the parole board for their very poor judgment in giving Vantrease an early out. May God bless the Diviney family.

  • JJohnson

    So If someone makes me mad I can beat them unconscious & give them a few swift kicks in the head (like I'm kicking a football). Then watch while they erratically seizure & bleed. Then go to a party & brag about how awesome I am. WOW! What a justice system. He deserves LIFE!!!!!!!!

    • Right on target

      +1 Million

  • smarter than EP_haters


    Evidently you have never been to a sporting event or do not know that people often root for their own team, tell opposing fans that their teams sucks, etc. it is friendly competition. Yes the entire situation could have been avoided if Austen and his friends did not get all worked up over hearing that their team sucks. They were looking for a fight. It takes a coward to kick someone when they're down. he was not threatened or in harms way.. Ryan was on the ground. It's a shame no one put Austen's head on the ground and kicked it like a football in prison. Then maybe the people taking up for him would understand, instead of being defensive. Maybe you should try laying on the ground and see what it feels like to watch someones big shoe come in and kick you in the head until you bleed and seize to near-death. Austen vantrease will feel what it is like to be kicked like a football in due time.. especially if he stays in WV. True Mountaineers do not kick a man when he is down, and they protect one another.'s only a matter of time.

    • Joe Caudill

      Pshh austin is a good person and diviney is fully at fault

    • EP_Hater

      In order to be smarter, you must first at least have reading comprehension skills.

      Not once did I take up for Vantrease. Not once did I say I was ok with what transpired that night. What exactly did I say? I said that Ryan should take partial responsibility for what happened that night.

      Vantrease didn't force Ryan to provoke the crowd. After they had passed the crowd Vantrease was in, no one forced Ryan to turn around and reapproach them. Ryan made those decisions on his own, that is what ignited the flame. He was known love arguing, and he was drunk that night. Alcohol did have an effect on his actions and words.

      Bottom line, Vantrease shouldn't have done what he did and I've said that several times here. But Ryan did his part in creating the problem and he's now in a bad place because of it. This should be a lesson to everyone.

  • susanf1218

    Ryan Diviney and his family are basically serving a life sentence w/little to no hope of recovery, but VanTrease gets to walk out of prison after only 4 years?? What kind of "justice" is that??

  • Arthur Bishop

    Mark my very simple words, Austin Vantrease will not be allowed to live for the pain he has caused. This animal is on the list, hopefully for not to long after he is located.

  • Reba

    No matter what happened, the past is done. Reality is all that matters now. As a mother, my heart aches for Ryan's family. God bless you all.

  • EP_Haters

    Not to play devil's advocate here, but has anyone stopped to think that maybe Diviney is responsible for this as well? The victims always receive the compassion, but as I recall, Diviney did initiate the altercation. He shouted "phillies suck" at a group of kids that were minding their own business. Then as the groups passed each other, Ryan was the one that turned back to approach the group. Ryan loved to debate. I don't think it's out of the realm of rationality to think that this situation could have been avoided, had Ryan not instigated the entire situation.

    The kid shouldn't have kicked him when he was down, but let's not act like one side is always right and the other is always wrong. Both sides can be wrong, and it appears that Ryan lit the match on this one.

    • Mad Hatter

      Absolutely nothing justifies what they did, to imply that it does is plain stupidity and the type of reasoning that perpetuates the problem.
      Early release, any release.... is just wrong.

    • Artimus

      EP I agree with you 100%. Agreed this is a tragedy all the way around. Agree that kicking the guy once he was down was unwarranted. But Diviney (and his family) have to accept the fact he bears responsibility for putting himself in this situation as well. I remember when this first happened I actually found his (Diviney's) facebook page. His profile pic was of himself standing, holding a case of beer. So obviously he liked to party. With that said, he's out after midnight, convenience store, mouths off (doesn't matter who mouthed off first, just keep your mouth shut) and things escalate to trouble. I read post after post of sympathy on a page devoted to him. Sad indeed. Terribly sad for his family. But it's a road he chose to go down. Sometimes you don't come back. A lesson many other young folks would do well to learn.

      • EP_Haters

        Exactly my point. They can hate this kid all they want, that's their right. But at some point, they'll have to accept that had he not started the argument and approached the group after passing, he would still be ok and nothing would've happened. The system has already taken a prejudiced stand in this matter, as Vantrease has already served more time than others have in the past for the same conviction.

      • joeyjojo

        You people are incredible. Shouting "phillies suck" warrants a death penalty from a couple worthless pieces of trash?? Unbelievable.

        • EP_Haters

          No one said that. What I said is that it's sad and Vantrease shouldn't have done what he did, but Diviney couldn't avoided the situation had he not provoked and reapproached the group of kids. This is being portrayed as a random and ruthless attack, when in reality the victim here is the fire starter...just like the recent case in Wheeling where the lacrosse player died. Diviney liked to argue. He was drunk. He provoked the group. He turned back to confront the group again. Bad things happen when you act like this.

          That's all I'm saying. Both sides were wrong and the victim would be fine today had he not played his role as he did that night. It may sound harsh, but it's true.

          • Heart sick about society

            EP Hater, what about free speech? You ARE still saying, that because he mouthed off first and not once but twice then he got what was coming to him. Words thrown are not the same as fist thrown and head bashing in a violent manner. It appears that Vantrease has a short fuse and violent temper, one that he likes to brag about.....Just can't see how Diviney got what he was asking for, but sounds like you feel he needed his mouth shut for him?

  • Clay

    He will be back in prison within a year

    • RedGal

      I believe so too. I don't think, given his inability to understand what he did to that family and Ryan and the environment, meaning his equally clueless family, that he can stay out of trouble while being supervised. We can only hope his next altercation or offense doesn't kill someone who is unlucky enough to cross his path. Budding sociopath.

  • cheryl

    our justice system sucks i think he should of do the whole sentence because the way i see it Ryan got a life sentence to never be the normal man he was so sorry for your pain .

    • mitch

      It was for 2-10. 2-10 does not mean 10 it means somewhere in between 2-10. He could argue that he did double the sentence....

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    Here is the issue - Once Ryan was knocked to the ground and was rendered incapacitated the fight should have been over . Whether the victim was out too late , drinking , talking , or just being a kid - ONCE he was knocked to the ground ( and testimony at trial indicated Ryan was trying to remove himself from harm , as in "backing away from the altercation " when he was sucker punched by May ) the ordeal should have ended . But that's when the creep Austin did his dirty work by kicking Ryan's head like it was a soccer ball . I guess that's how cowards operate . They wouldn't want a fair fight . The whole state of Delaware should read these post because you are about to get a real tool .

    • Paco


      • Robert

        Yes, that is the unavoidable fact that all these "it was Ryan's fault too" folks would like to avoid. Austin Vantrease KICKED AN UNCONSCIOUS MAN IN THE HEAD AS HARD AS HE COULD. For anyone who fails to understand the significance of that last sentence, read it again until it sinks in. It doesn't matter if Ryan shouted "Phillies suck" or stuck his fingers in his ears and said "Na-na-na-na-boo-boo" in some drunk's face. This man who was just paroled saw Ryan on the ground, got a running start, and KICKED AN UNCONSCIOUS MAN IN THE HEAD AS HARD AS HE COULD. And paroled or not, Austin Vantrease--and his entire family--will have to leave with that hideous and shameful reality for the rest of their lives. Oh yes, and the Divineys will too.

  • Traci Huls

    I am so sorry to hear this. Very disappointing.