Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sentencing of former Upper Big Branch Mine boss delayed again as he aids probe of blast that killed 29

A judge has again postponed sentencing of a former superintendent at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia because prosecutors said the delay would help their ongoing criminal investigation of the April 5, 2010, explosion that killed 29 coal miners.

L.A. Times photo
Former superintendent Gay May, left, is "cooperating in an ongoing investigation and the parties need additional time to fully develop the extent of his cooperation," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby said this week, reports Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette. Ruby said the additional time would allow "significant further development of the investigation." District Judge Irene Berger rescheduled the sentencing hearing for January.

In a plea deal, May admitted that he plotted with others to conceal hazards at Upper Big Branch on numerous occasions that compromised workers' safety. He also admitted that he participated in a "scheme to provide advance warning of government inspectors and then hide or correct violations before federal agents could make it into working sections of the mine," Ward reports.

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