Investigators seek motive in slaying of ex-coal executive

Another ‘person of interest’ questioned

By Kyle Lovern - [email protected]

Brandon Fitzpatrick

WILLIAMSON — Authorities say investigators are still trying to determine a motive in the fatal shooting of former coal company executive Ben Hatfield at a cemetery where the businessman’s wife is buried.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith said on Wednesday that authorities still don’t know of any connection between the suspect, 20-year-old Anthony R. Arriaga of Delphos, Ohio, and Hatfield, the 59-year-old former president and CEO of Patriot Coal.

West Virginia State Police (WVSP) said a third person of interest in the murder investigation of former coal executive Ben Hatfield is in custody on unrelated charges.

State Police said Brandon Fitzpatrick was taken to jail in Elsmere, Ky., after he was pulled over during a traffic stop. They believe that drugs were in the vehicle.

A WVSP spokesman at the Williamson detachment said they are making arrangements to travel to Kentucky to interview Fitzpatrick about his possible involvement in Hatfield’s murder.

Ricky Peterson of Wayne is charged with accessory after the fact, obstructing and giving false information to police. (See related story on this page)

Authorities said Arriaga allegedly shot Hatfield at Mountain View Memory Gardens Sunday, a graveyard in Mingo County, just north of Williamson. Arriaga was later arrested in Ohio.

Arriaga waived his right to an extradition hearing Tuesday. Records don’t indicate whether he has an attorney. Sheriff James Smith said the suspect was scheduled to be brought back to Mingo County either Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. He will then be arraigned in Mingo County Circuit Court.

(The Associated Press and WCHS-TV contributed to this article.)

(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

Brandon Fitzpatrick Fitzpatrick
Another ‘person of interest’ questioned

By Kyle Lovern

[email protected]

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