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Accused takes the stand in WJU student death trial

Updated: Thursday, June 12 2014, 06:42 PM EDT

WHEELING, W.Va.--

The defense called Craig Tyler Peacock, 22, the stand Thursday afternoon.

Peacock is accused in the murder of 21-year-old Kevin Figaniak.


The prosecution claims Peacock kicked Figaniak in the head causing his death. The defense says the kick was unintentional and blunt impacts to the head -- meaning several hits -- caused Figaniak's death.

Peacock said on the stand he didn't remember what comment started the fight. The state contends it was a comment mocking pipeliners and the oil and gas industry.

Peacock testified he was a proud pipeliner and his family also works in the industry.

Peacock talked about the evening of Aug. 30, 2013 - the night of the deadly fight. He said he and Jarrett Chandler went to dinner at Quaker Steak, Figaretti's for drinks and that is where they met up with Tyler Witty.

Peacock said the trio went bar hopping throughout Wheeling. He admitted to having more than a dozen drinks and said he remembered only some of the events of the night.

Peacock said they met up with the two Wheeling Jesuit students after the Owl's Nest bar and remembered being agitated with them after some comments. He said Figaniak and his friend Chandler got into a physical fight on Locust Avenue.

He said he was fighting with Tyler "T.J." Johnson. He said his foot came into contact with Figaniak's head when he was pulled away from Johnson.


Robert MCCoid, Peacock's defense attorney, asked him about the alleged kick.

McCoid:"Do you remember kicking anyone on the ground?"

Peacock"No Sir, I don't."

McCoid:"But you don't deny that may have happened?

Peacock:"It may have happened, but I don't recall kicking anyone."

Peacock also said he thought kicking a man when he is down is wrong.

Peacock also said he and his friends thought Figaniak had got up from the fight. He spoke about the days after the fight. Peacock and his friends went back to normal life thinking it was "just a fight."


Meanwhile, after the state presented their evidence the defense asked for an acquittal.

McCoid claims there isn't enough evidence to convict Peacock of a murder charge.

"Your honor this is a murder case and there is no evidence that Mr. Peacock did anything to intend to kill," said McCoid.

"Maybe we will learn from their expert that in the state of Kentucky that it's the one-free-kick-state," said Kahle. "If someone is dying then go ahead and kick them in the head -- no, we don't live in such a state."

The judge denied the acquittal and said the jury would decide-- that was after a 45 minute recess to review that motion.

Dozens of witnesses and experts have taken the stand.

Two medical examiners said the death was caused by traumatic brain injury due to blunt impacts to the head.

Jury instructions and closing arguments will begin Friday at 10 a.m.
Accused takes the stand in WJU student death trial


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