CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A third person was charged Wednesday in the death of former coal executive Bennett Hatfield.
Brandon Lee Fitzpatrick, 18, of Louisa, Kentucky, was charged by West Virginia authorities with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, Elsmere, Kentucky Police Chief Timothy Thames said. Fitzpatrick was being held in the Kenton County jail pending extradition proceedings.
Police earlier charged Anthony R. Arriaga, 20, of Delphos, Ohio, with murder in the fatal shooting of Hatfield on Monday at Mountain View Memory Gardens, a cemetery in southern West Virginia.
A 20-year-old West Virginia man, Ricky Dean Peterson, was also charged with being an accessory after the fact, obstructing and providing false information to an officer.
Arriaga’s aunt, Yolanda Arriaga-Traylor of Gibsonburg, Ohio, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the family is trying to make sense of the charge against her nephew.
“This isn’t in Anthony’s character to do this,” she said. “Anthony has never been in trouble.”
Arriaga-Traylor said she doesn’t have family in West Virginia and doesn’t know anybody there or know why her nephew would be there. She said they have no ties to anyone in coal mining.
“We do feel sympathy for the person who was killed,” she said. “It’s awful. That’s a tragedy. But this is not in his character.”
Arriaga lived with her parents and with her part of the time while he was growing up, played sports in high school and has been working in construction, she said. He still returns to see his family every couple of months, she said.