Another Man Sought In WJU Beating Death
WHEELING – Police on Wednesday were still searching for at least one more person in connection with the Saturday fight that led to the death of 21-year-old Wheeling Jesuit student Kevin Figaniak, Detective Gregg McKenzie said.
Figaniak was found unresponsive after he and a friend got into a fight with others around 1:30 a.m. Saturday in the area of Locust Avenue and National Road. He sustained severe head trauma and died Sunday at a Pittsburgh hospital.
Police arrested Craig Tyler Peacock and Jarrett Mathis Chandler on Tuesday at a Valley Grove campsite frequented by employees of the natural gas industry. Peacock, 22, of Clewiston, Fla., and Chandler, 24, of Winnfield, La., have been charged with second-degree murder.
The surviving victim, a fellow WJU student-athlete whose name has not been released, told investigators he and Figaniak were attacked by three or four men. McKenzie, who heads the department’s investigations unit, said police are continuing their search based on that statement.
They do not, however, have any names or identities because the victims were not familiar with the suspects.
“At this time, we have not identified anybody in particular,” McKenzie said. “But just because we got two doesn’t mean we’re stopping. The complainant told us there were three or four people involved.”
Police last talked to the surviving student on Wednesday.
McKenzie said the two suspects had been interviewed but he did not say whether Peacock and Chandler provided investigators with the names of others who may have been involved in the fight.
In that interview, Peacock and Chandler told police they did not know the victims. The suspects and their friends followed the victims after a “verbal altercation,” both suspects told investigators.
Chandler said he struck one of the victims and saw at least one of his friends fighting another man. Peacock admitted he struck someone as well, and “may have kicked the individual he was fighting with,” documents state. He also said he saw his friends fighting the two victims.
Both victims were lying on the ground when Peacock and Chandler left the scene. Figaniak was unresponsive, and the surviving victim knocked on the doors of nearby houses looking for help. McKenzie did not know if the man offered money to a nearby resident to help him bring Figaniak back to the WJU campus.
Peacock and Chandler remain lodged in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville, each in lieu of $1 million cash bond. They are scheduled to make their first appearances in Ohio County Magistrate Court on Sept. 12 during their respective preliminary hearings. Neither had attorneys Wednesday.
Figaniak was a senior business major who played on WJU’s lacrosse and club hockey teams. Bishop Michael J. Bransfield will preside over a campus Mass dedicated to Figaniak this afternoon. His funeral is set for 10 a.m. Saturday in Perkasie, Pa.