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Former Massey Energy CEO Sentenced to One Year in Prison
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Upper Big Branch memorial

Summary: Over five years since the West Virginia coal mine explosion, the CEO of Massey Energy was sentenced to one year in prison, one year probation, and a hefty fine.

The former CEO of Massey Energy has been sentenced to a year in prison for his role in a coal mine explosion that killed workers. Former Chief Executive Don Blankenship was fined $250,000 in addition to the one year prison sentence for the 2010 West Virginia explosion that killed 29 workers.


The “king of coal” received the maximum sentence for the misdemeanor conviction given by U.S. District Judge Irene Berger. He will also have a year of supervised probation after his release.

Blankenship led Massey from 2000 to 2010. He was convicted in December for conspiring to violate safety standards at the location of the explosion, Upper Big Branch mine. He was acquitted of the felony charges. Before the sentencing Blankenship said, “I want to express sorrow to the families for what happened and I hope that what I have to say can help them find peace.”

The accusations against Blankenship include conspiring to falsify dust samples and violating federal securities laws. A jury convicted him of the misdemeanor but found him not guilty of the making false statements and securities fraud. The jury had deliberated for over two weeks to come to this conclusion.

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Blankenship plans to appeal the sentence and has ten-days before he must surrender. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, governor of West Virginia when the explosion happened, said, “No sentence is severe enough and no amount of time in jail will heal the hearts of the families who have been forever devastated, and I pray that this sentence brings them some closure.”




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