10/23/2013 8:18 AM
by Nadine Grimley
MORGANTOWN - A magistrate said there are no grounds to set aside the conviction of a former Upper Big Branch Mine boss now serving time behind bars.
Ex-superintendent Gary May argued last month that 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 mine. He claimed he wasn't allowed to testify that illegal advanced warning of safety inspections was common practice at former Massey operations, now owned by Alpha Natural Resources.
U.S. Magistrate Clarke Vandervort ruled that May's claims were without merit and recommended that U.S. District Judge Irene Berger dismiss the complaint.