One of two men convicted in July 2010 for the brutal beating of an Ashburn man near the West Virginia University campus in Morgantown was paroled July 9, according to media reports.
Austin Vantrease, now 23, was granted parole during a hearing with the conditions that his home state of Delaware approves home release within 90 days. He will be on parole for no less than a year and could be under supervision for four to six years.
The hearing was Vantrease's third attempt at parole.
Vantrease had served four years of a two-to-10-year sentence for malicious assault for his role in the November 2009 attack that left Ryan Diviney in a coma. Diviney was 20 years old at the time of the attack.
The investigation by Morgantown Police found that Diviney, a WVU student and Broad Run High School graduate, was punched and kicked in the head, leaving him with a fractured skull, a broken jaw and bleeding of the brain.
According to police reports, the attack occurred just after 3 a.m. on Nov. 7, 2009, when Diviney and two others encountered a larger group when walking to a convenience store adjacent to the WVU campus.
An argument ensued over the Philadelphia Phillies. During the incident Diviney was pushed and began walking backward, hands raised to get away.
Both of Diviney's companions were assaulted; one of them, Bryan McLhinney, was rendered unconscious, his jaw broken, according to Ryansrally.org, a website devoted to keeping Diviney's story known in the public.
As Diviney backed away, WVU student Jonathon May punched Diviney him in the face, knocking him unconscious and causing him to strike his head on a raised grate when he fell. The assault left damage to his brain stem and frontal lobes.
At that point, Vantrease violently kicked Diviney in the head, according to witness testimony.
May reportedly returned to Delaware after serving seven months for battery for his role in the fight.
Diviney spent several months in hospitals in Morgantown and Atlanta before returning home to Ashburn.
In April 2010, Diviney was taken to the Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at the Kessler Institute in New Jersey.
Since then, he has been in and out of other hospitals for surgeries and illnesses.
He remains in a vegetative state, although his father Ken told various West Virginia media outlets prior to the parole hearing that his son is in a better state physically, but his cognitive state has not improved.
How to help
You can make a donation at http://www.ryansrally.org
and follow Diviney’s progress by joining the Facebook group, Come Together for Ryan Diviney.