Advertisement

UPDATE: Three charged in murder of former coal executive

(WSAZ)
Published: May. 23, 2016 at 4:31 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
UPDATE 5/25/16 @ 8:45 p.m.

ELSMERE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A call about a possible kidnapping led to the arrest of a murder suspect.

Elsmere Kentucky Police were dispatched Wednesday morning to a business in the 4300 block of the Dixie Highway for a report about a possible kidnapping.

The suspect had left before police got there, but they were able to catch up with the driver a short time later.

Brandon Fitzpatrick, 18, of Louisa, was driving the vehicle. He had been named as a person of interest in the murder of Ben Hatfield, a former coal executive in West Virginia.

Ben Hatfield was found shot to death in the Mountain View Memory Gardens Cemetery in Mingo County early Monday morning. He had been reported missing after not returning to Kanawha County. He had been visiting his wife's grave at the cemetery.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith tells WSAZ Hatfield was visiting his wife's grave, and decorating it for Memorial Day, as he has done for the past seven years.

Eslmere Police found $5,000 worth of meth in the car and held Fitzpatrick until West Virginia State Police could get there to interview him. Wednesday evening, he was charged with Hatfield's murder.

The passenger in the vehicle, the woman who said she had been kidnapped, was identified as Angela Marcum, 43, of Delphos, Ohio. Her son, Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, has also been arrested and charged with the murder. State Police say he confessed to the crime.

Investigators say Arriaga and Fitzpatrick were dealing drugs in Mingo County and ran out of money. They say the two men decided to rob someone, and found Hatfield in the cemetery. State Police say Hatfield was in the wrong place at the wrong time..

Ricky Peterson is charged with conspiracy in the case. Investigators say they got a tip that Arriaga visited Peterson after the murder. They say Peterson initially told them he had made no contact with Arriaga and had no knowledge of the murder or the suspect.

However, according to the criminal complaint, two other people who live in the home told investigators Arriaga was at the home and told Peterson about the murder.

Arriaga's mom is facing a drug charge and is also charged with falsely reporting a kidnapping. She is not charged in connection with Hatfield's murder.

Arriaga was brought back to West Virginia on Wednesday and is being held at the Southwestern Regional Jail.

Peterson is being held in the Western Regional Jail.

Fitzpatrick is in the Kenton County Jail in Kentucky. An extradition hearing is expected to happen Thursday.


UPDATE 5/25/16 @ 6:20 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Anthony Arriaga confessed to the murder of former coal executive Ben Hatfield, according to West Virginia State Police.

Troopers do not believe revenge was a motive. They say it was simply a robbery and Hatfield was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

West Viginia State Police are serving a warrant charging Brandon Fitzpatrick with conspiring to murder Ben Hatfield.

West Virginia State Police tell WSAZ that Brandon Fitzpatrick, 20, of Louisa, Kentucky, was arrested during a traffic stop Wednesday in Elsmere, Kentucky. Elsmere is in Kenton County.

According to State Police, Arriaga and Fitzpatrick were in the Mingo County area dealing drugs when they ran out of money and decided to find someone to rob for their cash.

According to State Police, the men saw Ben Hatfield's car and found him with the intent of robbing him.

Ben Hatfield was found shot to death in the Mountain View Memory Gardens Cemetery in Mingo County early Monday morning. WVSP say he was likely killed around noon Sunday. He had been reported missing after not returning to Kanawha County. He had been visiting his wife's grave at the cemetery.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith tells WSAZ Hatfield was visiting his wife's grave, and decorating it for Memorial Day, as he has done for the past seven years.

Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, was arrested early Tuesday morning in Allen County, Ohio, which is more than five hours away from Mingo County. He is charged with first-degree murder in Hatfield's death.

Arriaga waived extradition in Ohio and is expected to be returned to West Virginia Wednesday.

According to court documents in Wayne County, Ricky Dean Peterson, 20, of Wayne, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact, obstructing/resisting an officer, and giving false information to a trooper.

Investigators say they got a tip that Arriaga visited Peterson after the murder. They say Peterson initially told them he had made no contact with Arriaga and had no knowledge of the murder or the suspect.

However, according to the criminal complaint, two other people who live in the home told investigators Arriaga was at the home and told Peterson about the murder.

Investigators say while transporting Peterson to jail, he told them if they took him home, he would give them valuable information about the murder. He's being held in the Western Regional Jail.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


UPDATE 5/25/16 @ 4:33 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va (WSAZ) -- State Police are obtaining a warrant for Brandon Fitzpatrick, in connection to the murder of a well-known former coal executive. They say he will be charged with conspiracy to commit murder for his involvement in the killing of Ben Hatfield.

West Virginia State Police tell WSAZ that Brandon Fitzpatrick, 20, of Louisa, was arrested in Elsmere, Kentucky Wednesday during a traffic stop. Elsmere is in Kenton County.

According to State Police, Arriaga and Fitzpatrick were in the Mingo County area dealing drugs when they ran out of money and decided to find someone to rob for their money.

According to State Police, the men saw Ben Hatfield's car and found him with the purpose of robbing him.

Ben Hatfield was found shot to death in the Mountain View Memory Gardens Cemetery in Mingo County early Monday morning. He had been reported missing after not returning to Kanawha County. He had been visiting his wife's grave at the cemetery.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith tells WSAZ Hatfield was visiting his wife's grave, and decorating it for Memorial Day, as he has done for the past seven years.

Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, was arrested early Tuesday morning in Allen County, Ohio, which is more than five hours away from Mingo County. He is charged with first-degree murder in Hatfield's death.

Arriaga waived extradition in Ohio and is expected to be returned to West Virginia Wednesday.

According to court documents in Wayne County, Ricky Dean Peterson, 20, of Wayne, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact, obstructing/resisting an officer, and giving false information to a trooper.

Investigators say they got a tip that Arriaga visited Peterson after the murder. They say Peterson initially told them he had made no contact with Arriaga and had no knowledge of the murder or the suspect.

However, according to the criminal complaint, two other people who live in the home told investigators Arriaga was at the home and told Peterson about the murder.

Investigators say while transporting Peterson to jail, he told them if they took him home, he would give them valuable information about the murder. He's being held in the Western Regional Jail.

More information is expected to be released shortly.

Keep clicking WSAZ for the latest updates on this story.


UPDATE 5/25/16 @ 12:20 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A third person wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of a former West Virginia coal executive is behind bars.

West Virginia State Police tell WSAZ Brandon Fitzpatrick, 20, of Louisa, was arrested in Elsmere, Kentucky. That's in Kenton County.

Investigators say Fitzpatrick was picked up Wednesday morning during a traffic stop. He is wanted for questioning to determine is he was involved in the murder of Ben Hatfield.

Hatfield was found shot to death in the Mountain View Memory Gardens Cemetery in Mingo County early Monday morning.

Hatfield had been reported missing after not returning to Kanawha County. He had been visiting his wife's grave at the cemetery.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith tells WSAZ Hatfield was visiting his wife's grave, and decorating it for Memorial Day, as he has done for the past seven years.

"He's just there decorating the grave and paying his respects to his loved ones. It's sad; you're looking at broad daylight that this happened anywhere between 12 o'clock and 1:30 (a.m.)," Sheriff Smith said.

Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, was arrested early Tuesday morning in Allen County, Ohio, which is more than five hours away from Mingo County. He is charged with first-degree murder in Hatfield's death.

Arriaga waived extradition in Ohio and is expected to be returned to West Virginia Wednesday.

According to court documents in Wayne County, Ricky Dean Peterson, 20, of Wayne, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact, obstructing/resisting an officer, and giving false information to a trooper.

Investigators say they got a tip that Arriaga visited Peterson after the murder. They say Peterson initially told them he had made no contact with Arriaga and had no knowledge of the murder or the suspect.

However, according to the criminal complaint, two other people who live in the home told investigators Arriaga was at the home and told Peterson about the murder.

Investigators say while transporting Peterson to jail, he told them if they took him home, he would give them valuable information about the murder. He's being held in the Western Regional Jail.

WVSP say they are making arrangements to talk to Fitzpatrick.

Sheriff Smith tells WSAZ, "We've got no motive. We've got no reasoning. There's just so many unanswered questions -- why he was there or how he got there? Just so much that we got to do."

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


UPDATE 5/24/16 @ 10 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A second person has been arrested in connection with the murder of a former West Virginia coal executive.

Ben Hatfield was found shot to death in the Mountain View Memory Gardens Cemetery in Mingo County early Monday morning.

Hatfield had been reported missing after not returning to Kanawha County. He had been visiting his wife's grave at the cemetery.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith tells WSAZ they pinged Hatfield's phone and it led them to the cemetery, where they found his body.

Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, was arrested early Tuesday morning in Allen County, Ohio, which is more than five hours away from Mingo County. He is charged with first-degree murder in Hatfield's death.

Arriaga waived an extradition hearing, and a judge set his bond at $1 million, according to court officials. There's no word when he will be transported back to West Virginia.

Sheriff Smith tells WSAZ Hatfield was visiting his wife's grave, and decorating it for Memorial Day, as he has done for the past seven years.

"He's just there decorating the grave and paying his respects to his loved ones. It's sad; you're looking at broad daylight that this happened anywhere between 12 o'clock and 1:30 (a.m.)," Sheriff Smith said.

Smith tells WSAZ an automatic handgun, believed to be the murder weapon in the homicide investigation, was found near the river by a Kentucky State Police K-9. It was found not far from where Hatfield's body was found.

According to Sheriff Smith, they believe Arriaga killed Hatfield then took his own clothes off and left them near the scene. Arriaga then paid a man $45 to give him a ride to Wayne County, according to the sheriff, telling the driver he had fallen into the river.

The Mingo County Sheriff says once Arriaga got to Wayne County, he allegedly told another person he killed a man and needed to get to Ohio.

According to court documents in Wayne County, Ricky Dean Peterson, 20, of Wayne, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact, obstructing/resisting an officer, and giving false information to a trooper.

Investigators say they got a tip that Arriaga visited Peterson after the murder. They say Peterson initially told them he had made no contact with Arriaga and had no knowledge of the murder or the suspect.

However, according to the criminal complaint, two other people who live in the home told investigators Arriaga was at the home and told Peterson about the murder.

Investigators say while transporting Peterson to jail, he told them if they took him home, he would give them valuable information about the murder. He's being held in the Western Regional Jail.

We knocked on the door of Peterson's home on Sansom Avenue Tuesday afternoon, but no one answered.

At this time, it is still unclear how Arriaga got to Ohio.

It is also unclear if Arriaga and Hatfield knew one another.

Friends of Hatfield do not believe he had any known enemies.

"We've got no motive. We've got no reasoning. There's just so many unanswered questions -- why he was there or how he got there? Just so much that we got to do," Sheriff Smith said.


UPDATE 5/24/16 @ 2:45 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The suspect in the homicide investigation of Ben Hatfield, a former coal executive from West Virginia, has waived extradition and will be brought back to Mingo County.

Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, was in court Tuesday afternoon in Allen County, Ohio. He is being charged with first degree murder, according to Mingo County court documents.

Arriaga waived extradition and a judge set his bond at $1 million, according to court officials.

Hatfield was found shot to death Monday morning at Mountain View Memory Gardens cemetery in Mingo County, West Virginia. Mingo County Sheriff James Smith tells WSAZ Hatfield was visiting his wife's grave, and decorating it for Memorial Day, as he has done for the past seven years.

"He's just there decorating the grave and paying his respects to his loved ones, it's sad. You're looking at broad daylight that this happened anywhere between 12 o'clock and 1:30 (a.m.)," Sheriff Smith said.

Early Tuesday morning, Arriaga was arrested in Allen County, Ohio which is more than five hours away from Mingo County.

Allen County Sheriff Samuel Crish tells WSAZ his department was notified by West Virginia authorities that there was a warrant out for Arriaga's arrest and that the suspect may be staying at a relative's home in Delphos.

Deputies, along with officers with the Delphos Police Department, responded to the home around 2 a.m. Tuesday. They found Arriaga on the porch and he was arrested without incident, according to Crish.

Arriaga was taken to the Allen County Jail and held as a fugitive of justice.

Crish says his department is not familiar with Arriaga and there are no court documents in Allen County, Sandusky County (where Arriaga is from according to Mingo County court documents) or Mingo County showing a criminal record.

The Mingo County Sheriff tells WSAZ an automatic handgun, believed to be the murder weapon in the homicide investigation of Ben Hatfield was found near the river by a Kentucky State Police K9. It was found not far from where Hatfield's body was found.

According to Sheriff Smith, they believe Arriaga killed Hatfield then took his own clothes off and left them near the scene. Arriaga then paid a man $45 to give him a ride to Wayne County, according to the sheriff, telling the driver he had fallen into the river.

The Mingo County Sheriff says once Arriaga got to Wayne County, he allegedly told another person he killed a man and needed to get to Ohio. From there, the sheriff says it's unclear how Arriaga ended up in Ohio but they believe he has roots there.

Crish says his department is also not aware of how Arriaga got to Ohio.

According to Mingo County court records, Arriaga is from Gibsonburg, Ohio which is about 1.5 hours away from Delphos.

It is unclear if Arriaga and Hatfield knew each other.

"We've got not motive. We've got no reasoning. There's just so many unanswered questions why he was there or how he got there. Just so much that we got to do," Sheriff Smith said.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


UPDATE 5/24/16 @ 2:20 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The suspect in the homicide investigation of Ben Hatfield, a former coal executive from West Virginia, is in court for an extradition hearing to determine if he will be brought back to Mingo County.

Hatfield was found shot to death Monday morning at Mountain View Memory Gardens cemetery in Mingo County, West Virginia.

Early Tuesday morning, Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, was arrested in Allen County, Ohio which is more than five hours away from Mingo County. Arriaga is being charged with first degree murder, according to Mingo County court documents.

Allen County Sheriff Samuel Crish tells WSAZ his department was notified by West Virginia authorities that there was a warrant out for Arriaga's arrest and that the suspect may be staying at a relative's home in Delphos.

Deputies, along with officers with the Delphos Police Department, responded to the home around 2 a.m. Tuesday. They found Arriaga on the porch and he was arrested without incident, according to Crish.

Arriaga was taken to the Allen County Jail and held as a fugitive of justice. His extradition hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Lima Municipal Court.

Crish says his department is not familiar with Arriaga and there are no court documents in Allen County, Sandusky County (where Arriaga is from according to Mingo County court documents) or Mingo County showing a criminal record.

The Mingo County Sheriff tells WSAZ a weapon believed to be the murder weapon in the homicide investigation of Ben Hatfield was located not far from where Hatfield's body was found.

Sheriff James Smith says police dogs were used to trace the weapon, a handgun, that was found along a riverbank near the cemetery where Hatfield was found dead Monday.

According to Sheriff Smith, they believe Arriaga killed Hatfield then took his own clothes off and left them near the scene. Arriaga then asked someone for a ride to Wayne County, according to the sheriff, telling the driver he had fallen into the river.

The Mingo County Sheriff says once Arriaga got to Wayne County, he allegedly told another person he killed a man and needed to get to Ohio. From there, the sheriff says it's unclear how Arriaga ended up in Ohio but they believe he has roots there.

Crish says his department is also not aware of how Arriaga got to Ohio.

According to Mingo County court records, Arriaga is from Gibsonburg, Ohio which is about 1.5 hours away from Delphos.

It is unclear if Arriaga and Hatfield knew each other.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


UPDATE 5/24/16 @ 12:55 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Mingo County Sheriff tells WSAZ a weapon believed to be the murder weapon in the homicide investigation of Ben Hatfield has been found.

Sheriff James Smith says police dogs were used to trace the weapon, a handgun, that was found along a riverbank near the cemetery where Hatfield was found dead Monday.

Hatfield was a former coal executive from West Virginia. He was found shot to death at Mountain View Memory Gardens cemetery in Maher.

Early Tuesday morning, Sheriff Smith says Anthony Arriaga, 20, of Gibsonburg, Ohio, was arrested in Allen County, Ohio.

Our media partner, WV MetroNews, reports deputies with the Allen County Sheriff's Department arrested Arriaga at a home in Delphos, Ohio just after 3 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Mingo County court records, Arriaga is from Gibsonburg, Ohio which is about 1.5 hours away from Delphos.

Arriaga is now being charged with first degree murder, according to Mingo County court documents.

According to Sheriff Smith, they believe Arriaga killed Hatfield then took his own clothes off and left them near the scene. Arriaga then asked someone for a ride to Wayne County, according to the sheriff, telling the driver he had fallen into the river.

The Mingo County Sheriff says once Arriaga got to Wayne County, he allegedly told another person he killed a man and needed to get to Ohio. From there, the sheriff says it's unclear how Arriaga ended up in Ohio but they believe he has roots there.

The sheriff says they are trying to extradite the suspect back to West Virginia to face charges. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


UPDATE 5/24/16 @ 9:40 a.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Mingo County Sheriff tells WSAZ an arrest has been made in the death of a former coal executive from West Virginia.

Ben Hatfield was found shot to death at a cemetery in Maher on Monday. Hatfield was the former vice president of Patriot Coal Corp.

Sheriff James Smith says Anthony Arriaga, 20, was arrested in Allen County, Ohio about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Sheriff Smith says they've also located a vehicle that's connected to the case.

According to the sheriff, they believe after Arriaga killed Hatfield and then took his own clothes off and left them near the scene. Then, Arriaga asked someone for a ride to Wayne County, according to the sheriff.

The sheriff says once Arriaga got to Wayne County, he told another person he killed a man and needed to get to Ohio. From there, the sheriff says it's unclear how Arriaga ended up in Ohio, but says he believes he has roots there.

The sheriff says they are trying to extradite the suspect back to West Virginia to face charges, but that may take a few days. He is expected to be charged with homicide.

No other information is being released at this time.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.


UPDATE 5/23/15 @ 9:05 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The name of a man whose body was found Monday morning in a Mingo County Cemetery has been released.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith said the victim is Ben Hatfield, who was the former vice president of Patriot Coal Corp. Hatfield's death is being investigated as a homicide.

Smith tells WSAZ that Hatfield's body was found about 6:30 a.m. Monday at Mountain View Memory Gardens cemetery in Maher.

It appears Hatfield was fatally shot as he was visiting the graves of his wife and in-laws, the sheriff said.

Smith says the victim lived in Kanawha County and his girlfriend had reported him missing Sunday after he didn't return home. Smith says they pinged the victim's cell phone, and it led them to the cemetery.

"I couldn't believe it," William Gauz, who lives next to the cemetery, said. "I don't know what the world is coming to when you can't decorate a grave without getting shot."

Investigators are looking for anyone who may have driven by between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday for more information.

Hatfield was president of International Coal Group at the time of the deadly Sago mine disaster in 2006.

His daily briefings in front of reporters and TV cameras often became very emotional and earned him a reputation as a boss deeply invested in the lives of the 12 men trapped at Sago.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


ORIGINAL STORY 5/23/16 @ 4:31 p.m.

MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man's body was found at a cemetery early Monday morning in Mingo County, and now investigators are ruling it a homicide.

Mingo County Sheriff James Smith tells WSAZ the man's body was found about 6:30 a.m. Monday at Mountain View Memory Gardens cemetery in Maher.

Sheriff Smith says the death is being investigated as a homicide.

WSAZ has confirmed the identity of the victim in this case. We are told not all family members have been notified and will wait to release the name until all notifications have been made.

Smith says the victim lived in Kanawha County and his girlfriend had reported him missing after he didn't return for the weekend. Sheriff Smith says they pinged the victim's cell phone and it led them to the cemetery.

They are looking for anyone who may have driven by between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday for more information.

We have a crew at the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.