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For Blast that Killed 29, the Former U.S. Coal CEO Gets Prison Time

Don Blankenship, the Former Massey Energy CEO was penalized to a year in prison & fined 250,000 dollars on Wednesday for his part in the West Virginia coalmine explosion in 2010 that had killed 29 workers.

Blankenship was given the maximum sentence for the misdemeanor conviction by Irene Berger, the District Judge of US. He was also sentenced to a year of controlled probation after his release.

The Former Energy CEO had headed Massey from 2000 to 2010, and in Dec. was convicted  of conspiring to violate the safety criteria at Upper Big Branch mine (the site of blast). He was cleared on felony charges connected to accident.

“I want to express sorrow to families for what happened & I hope that what I’ve to say can help them find peace,” said Blankenship before sentencing.

He had been indicted of conspiring to fabricate the dust samples & violating the federal securities laws by lying the about company safety practices.

Nevertheless, the jury that sentenced him of the offence found Blankenship not guilty of making the false statements & of securities fraud.

The jury considered over 2 weeks & had twice told Berger that it was deadlocked.

The prosecutors & the relatives of those killed had hailed the verdict as sending a message on the mine safety in coal-rich West Virginia.

Berger stated that Mr. Blankenship would’ve a 10-day period before he must surrender.

Joe Manchin, the U.S. Senator, said that it’d caused the state to put safety of workers ahead of company profits, and production.

“No sentence is severe enough & no amount of time in jail time will heal hearts of the families who’ve been forever devastated, & I pray that this sentence brings them some closure,” said Manchin in a statement.