MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — A magistrate says there are no grounds to set aside the conviction of a former Upper Big Branch mine boss now in prison.
Ex-superintendent Gary May argued last month his lawyer was ineffective, had conflicts of interest and made him a scapegoat for the 2010 disaster that killed 29 coal miners — all to protect Massey Energy executives.
May pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is serving 21 months for his actions at the West Virginia mine.
May claimed that he wasn't allowed to testify that illegal advance warning of safety inspections was common practice at former Massey operations now owned by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources.
Last week, U.S. Magistrate Clarke VanDervort ruled May's claims are without merit.
He has recommended that U.S. District Court Judge Irene Berger dismiss the complaint.