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Upper Big Branch security chief pleads not guilty

BECKLEY, W.Va. -- The security chief at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine has pleaded not guilty to federal allegations that he disposed of thousands of pages of documents.

Hughie Elbert Stover, 59, entered his plea Tuesday in U.S. Magistrate Court in Beckley.

Stover is charged with lying to federal investigators and ordering another Massey employee to dispose of documents relating to security at the Raleigh County mine.

Stover is the first person facing criminal charges in connection with last April's explosion that killed 29 miners. The explosion was the deadliest at a U.S. coal mine since 1970.

The explosion remains the subject of a federal grand jury probe and civil investigations. Richmond, Va.-based Massey has denied wrongdoing.

Stover's trial was set for April 25.


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