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Guilty plea in beating death of WJU student

Updated: Thursday, January 30 2014, 09:31 PM EST

By: Crissy Clutter and NEWS9

WHEELING, W.Va.--

Jarrett Chandler, 24, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Thursday for his part in the death of 21-year-old Kevin Figaniak.

Chandler was sentenced to one year in prison with credit for time served, meaning, he will serve six more months in jail before he’s released in September.

Ohio County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak said an argument began outside the Ye Olde Alpha Aug. 31, 2013, thatled to the Wheeling Jesuit University student’s death.

According to reports, Chandler, Tyler Witty and Craig Tyler Peacock encountered Figaniak and his friend, Tyler Johnson.

Johnson asked the three where they went to school.

In reply, the men said,"We are pipeliners."

Reports said Johnson then made a comment saying, "You don’t need school for that."

Prosecutors say the comment angered Peacock, and the trio followed the WJU students to the corner of Locust Avenue and National Road.

Johnson and Peacock began fighting, according to reports. Thursday in court, Chandler admitted Figaniak had pushed him and that he punched back.

Chandler said Peacock kicked Figaniak in the head while he was trying to break the fight up.

“I regret punching him as a reaction to him pushing me,” said Chandler. “I did not intend to hurt him; it was just a reaction, and I am deeply sorry.”

According to reports, Johnson tried to pick Figaniak up and take him back to the dorms. A neighbor says Johnson dropped Figaniak on his head at least twice.

A medical examiner said Figaniak suffered at least five blows to the head.

“No one deserved this, certainly not Kevin Michael Figaniak, who lost his life over a comment,” said Turak. “A comment that someone just got pissed off about."

Others took the stand in Chandler's defense and say he is a star athlete, a Christian, a hard-working man and a loving father.

Chandler's mother wept and said the situation has been devastating

“It's a horrible thing to go through as mother, and I feel for Miss Figaniak,” said Sheila Chandler.

The Figaniak family also spoke. Shannon Figaniak, Kevin Figaniak’s sister, said she is sick becauseshe will never see him wear the No. 16 again for lacrosse.

“There is a piece of my heart that is missing, and it will never be mended,” she said. “He was my best friend, brother, and anchor to the family.”

T.J. Figaniak also spoke, saying Kevin Figaniak will never see his nephew born on the same day. Kevin Figaniak’s mother, Valerie Figaniak, said the family has fallen apart and will never be the same.

“On Aug. 31, a parent’s worst nightmare came true for us--
a phone call in the night. Kevin was in critical condition on life support,” said Valerie Figaniak.

Thursday saw not many dry eyes in the courtroom as both sides agreed -- the fight leading to the death of Kevin Figaniak never should have happened.

Judge David Sims sentenced Chandler to the maximum for his misdemeanor plea.

“Mr. Chandler you made some bad decisions, and that's what happenswhen alcohol mixes with testosterone, I guess,” said Sims.

Peacock has a pretrial hearing at 1:30 p.m. March 31. His trial is set for April 29. He is in the Northern Regional Jail on $1 million bond.

Guilty plea in beating death of WJU student


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