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More info into WJU beating hearing
Updated: Thursday, September 12 2013, 11:11 PM EDT
By Philip Stahl
WHEELING, W.Va. –
It was about a 90-minute hearing for Craig Tyler Peacock in Ohio County Magistrate Court Thursday afternoon as he and Jarrett Chandler made their first public appearance since being arrested Sept. 2nd. They were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Wheeling Jesuit University student Kevin Figaniak.
It was revealed Thursday that Figaniak and his friend, a victim who did not sustain fatal injuries, were coming from The Ye Old Alpha on Carmel Road when they got into a verbal altercation with Peacock and Chandler.
Wheeling Police Det. Daniel Holmes revealed that Peacock was seen crossing Edington Lane, where he and Chandler were standing outside of the Owl's Nest.
Nearby surveillance video shows Chandler and Peacock at the establishment.
Defense attorney Robert McCoid revealed that the third person of interest is Tyler Whitty.
Police said they are working to talk to Whitty, but would not elaborate on his whereabouts or if they consider him a suspect or a witness.
Ohio County assistant prosecutors Shawn Turak and Gail Kahle asked if Det. Holmes or Wheeling PD knew what the verbal altercation was about. Holmes stated that he did not know, nor did the victim.
In reference to the third person of interest, Tyler Whitty, McCoid asked if his car was searched at the Highlands in Ohio County by a Wheeling Detective last week. Holmes said yes.
Holmes went onto say that evidence collected from the scene were two hats, and later a cellphone that belonged to Peacock found at the Owl's Nest.
When asked by police, Holmes said that Peacock told them he came home from work, cashed his paycheck at Walmart, went to dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube, had beers at Figaretti's and then went to bed.
Peacock later changed his story when Chandler told them he ate dinner at TJ's Sports Garden, went to Figaretti's for drinks, then to the Owl's Nest, a brief visit to the Alpha, where no contact was made with Figaniak and again back to the Owl's Nest.
Words were exchanged around 1:30 a.m. McCoid asked Holmes who may have started the fight that turned fatal.
Holmes stated through interviews Chandler said that Figaniak shoved him in the chest and Peacock responded by hitting Figaniak in the face and then kicking him in the head with cowboy boots he was wearing.
Prosecutors said that Peacock knew when Figaniak hit the ground and was kicked, he was not moving and both suspects then ran from the scene.
The second victim involved in the fight knocked on the door of a home on Locust Avenue, where he told the owners he needed help, not to call the police and he would pay them to take he and Figaniak back to campus.
It was also noted that the second victim tried to pull Figaniak up from the grassy area when Figaniak's arms slipped from his hands, and hit his head on the concrete.
The medical examiner on the case stated that Figaniak's brain had shown multiple areas of trauma. Two areas were on the back side of the brain, the other on the right side.
Police said no weapons were involved, or found.
McCoid also asked if the victim who gave the statement appeared to be intoxicated; Holmes said yes.
McCoid argued that the victim was too drunk to give a statement or realize what happened and closed by asking the case be dismissed. He also said that there is no solid evidence that Figaniak was either kicked in the head, was punched and hit the ground, or that the other victim was trying to pull him up from the ground and let go of Figaniak's hands, where his head hit the ground.
Turak and Kahle responded by saying Peacock told police in a recorded interview that he "kicked the person he was fighting with." Kahle also said the medical examiner in the case ruled Figaniak's cause of death a homicide.
Magistrate Joe Roxby determined there was probable cause and bounded the case over to the next term of the Ohio County Grand Jury, which will convene in January 2014.
When asked by NEWS9, Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak said that a special grand jury could convene to indict the two, but only said that as a possibility, not a fact.
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