According to the Associated Press, Anthony Tyler Cornett entered his plea June 1, and now faces up to one year in prison, a $250,000 fine and the permanent forfeiture of his foreman certification.
Cornett was a foreman at Commonwealth Mining’s Tinsley Branch 61 highwall mine near Pikeville on October 7, 2014, when he allowed miner Justin Mize to enter a non-supported auger hole. After another miner refused the task, nine-year mining veteran Mize was sent in to examine a cutter head chain that had fallen off.
A roof rock slab measuring 8 feet wide, 6 ft long and 16 inches thick fell and crushed the 31-year-old miner. Federal investigators said in a final report of the incident that there were several more cutter head chains at the operation at the time, so retrieving the slipped one was not necessary.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) had not given permission to enter as required.
Cornett is scheduled to be sentenced in August.