Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ex-mine security chief gets 3 years in W.Va. blast

BECKLEY, W.Va. — A former security chief convicted of lying to investigators about the April 2010 explosion that killed 29 men at a West Virginia coal mine was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday. Prosecutors said it was one of the stiffest punishments ever handed down in a mine safety case.

Hughie Elbert Stover was convicted of lying to investigators and ordering a subordinate to destroy thousands of security-related documents at the Upper Big Branch mine after the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in four decades.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin had sought a 25-year sentence, but he said he wasn't disappointed with the judge's decision.

Stover showed no emotion when the sentence was announced. He will report to prison at a later date.

"Three years is a long time for someone who is 60 to be incarcerated," defense attorney Bill Wilmoth said.

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