Ragin pleads guilty in grad student’s death

Sam Verbulecz

John H. Ragin Jr. pleaded guilty Friday to one count of involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony, in connection with the February 2010 death of Kent State graduate student John White.

John Ragin, 21, of Akron hugs his sister, Joi Ragin, before being charged in the death of Kent State graduate student John White, at the Portage County Courthouse on Friday.

The Portage County Court of Common Pleas dismissed charges of felonious assault against the 21-year-old Akron man in exchange for his plea.

White, a 28-year-old graduate student and Iraq War veteran, was walking home from a bar in downtown Kent around 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 23 when he entered into an argument and was assaulted by Hallie Nuspl, 21, of Akron.

Ragin, a friend of Nuspl’s entered the altercation and delivered a punch to White that resulted in severe head injuries and his hospitalization at Akron City Hospital.

White died from his injuries on Feb. 23.

“I’m just happy that Ragin is finally taking responsibility for his actions,” said Ashley Tschakert, a long-time friend of White who attended the pre-trial hearing with White’s girlfriend and sister-in-law.

Ragin’s attorney James Burdon said his client “wanted to accept responsibility for that [White’s assault] publicly and legally.”

Nuspl entered a guilty plea earlier this month to two first-degree misdemeanor charges of assault and falsification in connection to White’s death. Charges against Nuspl of obstructing official business were dropped as a part of the plea negotiations with the Portage County Prosecutor’s Office.

Contact reporter Sam Verbulecz at [email protected].