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Ex-mine official to learn fate in W.Va. blast case

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 08:49 AM

BECKLEY, W.Va. — A former superintendent at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine is set to learn his fate for pleading guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.

Gary May is to be sentenced in federal court in Beckley on Thursday. He's cooperating with prosecutors in their ongoing criminal investigation of the 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners at the former Massey Energy operation.

May pleaded guilty last March. He was accused of defrauding the government through his actions at the mine, including disabling a methane gas monitor and falsifying records.

A plea hearing is set next month for former longtime Massey executive David Hughart, who's accused of two federal conspiracy charges. Hughart's cooperation has been viewed as a sign that authorities may be gathering evidence to target officials further up the Massey hierarchy.