Federal prosecutors want a former Massey Energy security chief to spend 25 years in jail for lying to investigators and trying to destroy evidence in the probe of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin argued in a court filing that Hughie Elbert Stover's actions played a major role in causing the April 5, 2010, explosion that killed 29 coal miners.
Prosecutors said the miners died "in part" because of a system of inspection warnings Stover helped to coordinate. They said Stover later "acted to sabotage" the largest mine disaster probe in a generation.
Defense attorney Bill Wilmoth argued that Stover was innocent, and that crimes he was charged with had nothing to do with the mine disaster.
In October, a federal jury convicted Stover of two felonies: making a false statement and obstructing justice. Jurors concluded that Stover lied to investigators and then tried to destroy evidence about Massey's practice of warning underground workers when federal inspectors arrived at Upper Big Branch.
Stover is scheduled to be sentenced during a Feb. 29 hearing.