U.S. coal executive Bennett “Ben” Hatfield, 59, was found dead May 23 at a southern West Virginia cemetery, the victim of a failed robbery attempt.
Hatfield, who was appointed to the board of directors for Foresight Energy, had most recently served as president and CEO of Patriot Coal. He stepped down last year, about a month in advance of the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
According to local media reports, Hatfield had been visiting the gravesites of his late wife and other family members, and had parked his Denali SUV nearby.
According to the Mingo County Sheriff’s Office, they believe suspects Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Delphos, Ohio, and Brandon Fitzpatrick, 18, of Louisa, Kentucky, pulled up behind Hatfield’s SUV with the intention of stealing it. Sheriff James Smith said they believe Arriaga walked up behind Hatfield and shot twice, hitting him once in the back. Hatfield then ran for cover near the riverbank and Arriaga followed, and at that time, the sheriff’s office believes Fitzpatrick drove away. Neither men stole anything from Hatfield or his vehicle.
Arriaga was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy. Fitzpatrick was arrested on drug charges after a traffic stop. He now faces conspiracy and murder charges.
Ricky Peterson, 20, has been charged with accessory after the fact, obstructing an officer and providing false information to an officer.