Friday, December 10, 2010

Massey foremen sentenced to probation for role in fire that killed two miners at Aracoma

Four Massey Energy foremen were sentenced Thursday to a year of probation and a total of $7,000 in fines for their role in the 2006 fire that killed two workers at Massey's Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine in Logan County, W.V. The foremen, Donald R. Hagy, Terry L. Shadd, Edward R. Ellis and Michael A. Plumley, admitted to not conducting required mine-evacuation drills prior to the fire, Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette reports. "Family members of the foremen filled one side of the courtroom, and [U.S. District Court Judge John T.] Copenhaver said he had received letters from their friends, neighbors and pastors speaking up for their character," Ward writes.

Bruce Stanley, an attorney for the two miners' widows, told Copenhaver his clients were not looking for the judge to be overly harsh in sentencing. "The true culpability in this matter rests in a higher position of authority than the four gentlemen in this courtroom," Stanley said. The two widows, Delorice Bragg and Freda Hatfield, spoke out in early 2009 "against a deal in which Massey's Aracoma Coal Co. subsidiary pleaded guilty to 10 mine safety crimes and paid a $2.5 million fine, while prosecutors agreed they would not pursue any charges against the Massey parent company or any of its officers or employees," Ward writes. (Read more)

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