Saturday, July 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

2 arrested overnight in fatal beating of Bucks college student

Story Highlights
  • Two men were arrested in connection with the fatal beating of Kevin Figaniak.
  • Figaniak, 21, was beaten unconscious Saturday and died Sunday.
  • He was senior at Wheeling Jesuit University and played on the varsity lacrosse team.

Two men located in a camp for oil and gas workers were arrested overnight in connection with the brutal fatal beating of a college student from Bucks County this weekend in West Virginia.

Police in Wheeling, W. Va., confirmed this morning that Craig Tyler Peacock, 22 of Clewiston, Fla., and Jarrett Mathis Chandler, 24 of Winnfield, La., were both charged with the murder of Kevin M. Figaniak. The men were arraigned and placed in the Northern Correctional Facility in Moundsville, W. Va., on $1 million cash bail each.

Figaniak, a 21-year-old senior at Wheeling Jesuit University, and a Perkasie, Bucks County native, was beaten unconscious about 1:30 a.m. Saturday as he and a friend walked from a bar to the campus. Figaniak was pronounced dead 3:05 a.m. Sunday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  He had suffered head trauma.  His friend was injured.

Figaniak a business major, played on the university's varsity lacrosse team and the played on the a club hockey team. He was the son of Valerie and Tom Figaniak of Perkasie, Pa, according to the university. Figaniak had attended Pennridge High School.

The beating took place near Locust Ave. and National Road in Wheeling.

The surviving victim told investigators that Figaniak had exchanged "unpleasantries" with one or more others before the attack, Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger told The Intelligencer / Wheeling News Register.  The victim, who has not been identified, described the attackers as three or four white men in their mid-20s. Two of the men had brown hair and wore blue jeans, while another wore a hat, the newspaper reported.

Police said this morning that the two men arrested were located at the camp on the 6000 block of National Road in Tridelphia, Ohio County, W. Va.  The town of low-slung Appalachian hills and one-story buildings is near Wheeling.

Police have suggested more arrests could come.

The killing has stunned the small Roman Catholic university Figaniak attended.

"We, the Wheeling Jesuit University community, would like to express our deep appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the alumni, friends, neighboring colleges and the local Wheeling community for your outpouring of love and prayers during this very difficult time on our campus," said a statement posted by school officials.

"We ask that you keep Kevin Figaniak’s family and the WJU community in your prayers during this time of mourning," the statement continued. "It is through this support that we draw the strength to cope with the loss of our fallen brother."

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Figaniak was a standout player while at Pennridge High School. In 2010, he scored 43 goals and was a first-team All-Suburban One Continental Conference player. At WJU, he played lacrosse and hockey.

Figaniak spent a few weeks this summer as an intern at Lacrosse Evolution, which runs camps and training centers in King of Prussia and Downingtown, the newspaper reported.

"The time he did spend with us, he showed promise," chief operating office Dave Donovan said in an e-mail. "We were sorry to see him go then and now."

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Check back for details as they develop.

Frank Kummer PHILLY.COM
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