Police believe coal executive was shot while cleaning grave

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (AP) — Police say they believe a coal executive who was killed last month at a cemetery was shot in the back while he cleaned a family member’s grave marker.

The details were reported by the Charleston Gazette-Mail (http://bit.ly/1sWbXJr ), which also said that a Kentucky teenager has waived extradition during a video hearing and will be brought to West Virginia to face charges in the death of Ben Hatfield.

Hatfield had gone to the Mountain View Memory Gardens, a cemetery in Mingo County, West Virginia, on May 22. Police believe he had just cleaned the grave marker of his late wife, Debbie, who had died in 2009 from breast cancer, and was cleaning the grave of an in-law when he was shot.

Hatfield, 59, was able to make it about 50 or 60 yards away and collapsed and died at the edge of the Tug Fork River. The longtime coal executive’s body was discovered on May 23 at the cemetery in Maher, a community about 75 miles south of Charleston.

Investigators say they believe Hatfield was killed because two men wanted to steal his GMC Yukon Denali.

Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Lima, Ohio, and Brandon Fitzpatrick, 18, of Louisa, Kentucky, have both been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Hatfield’s death. Fitzpatrick is also charged with conspiracy.

Fitzpatrick waived extradition during a video hearing in front of a Kenton County, Kentucky, judge. Prosecutors don’t know yet when he will be brought to West Virginia to face charges.

It’s not clear if the two men are represented by attorneys.

Hatfield resigned in 2015 as president and CEO of Patriot Coal. He was International Coal Group’s CEO when a 2006 explosion in northern West Virginia killed 12 miners.

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