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Life sentence for man in West Virginia coal exec’s death

WILLIAMSON, W. Va. – An Ohio man was on Tuesday sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole after 15 years in the fatal shooting of a coal executive at a West Virginia cemetery.

A Mingo County circuit judge added two consecutive one-to-five-year sentences for first-degree theft and conspiracy of Anthony, Raheem Arriaga’s life sentence for first-degree murder in the death of Bennett “Ben” Hatfield, WCHS-TV reported.

Hatfield, 59, was shot during a visit to his wife’s grave in Maher in May 2016, a year after he resigned as CEO and chairman of Patriot Coal, which the bankruptcy citing low coal prices and falling demand. In the time that he was operating his own mining consulting business, Coal Strategies LLC.

According to his testimony during the trial, Arriaga, 22, Delphos, Ohio, told police he shot Hatfield in the back in a plan to steal his GMC Yukon Denali, and sell it for parts. Arriaga had said that he had been using drugs and had very little sleep over several days.

In April, Arriaga pleaded guilty to murder and theft charges, but later withdrew his plea. He claimed that co-conspirator Brandon Fitzpatrick was the one who the gun is fired.

During his trial earlier this month, Fitzpatrick said he was with Arriaga and knew Arriaga had a gun as they pulled behind Hatfield’s SUV at the cemetery.

Fitzpatrick, 20, of Louisa, Kentucky, was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 18 and faces up to life in prison with the chance of parole after 15 years.

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Information: WCHS-TV, http://www.wchstv.com

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