by Ron Gregory
WILLIAMSON — Two men have been charged in connection with what has been classified as the murder of coal company executive Bennett Hatfield.
Mingo County Sheriff James Smith told media outlets Tuesday that Anthony R. Arriaga, 20, of Delphos, Ohio, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. As has become common in Mingo death cases, Smith said officers had no explanation at this time for why the murder took place.
Hatfield’s body was found after he apparently was shot and killed Sunday at the Mountain View Memory Gardens. The man, a coal company executive at Massey Energy, Arch Coal and Patriot Coal, was apparently visiting the cemetery where his late wife is buried.
Officials offered no explanation as to how assailants would have known Hatfield was planning to visit the grave site.
After showing up at a neighbor’s home wearing only his underwear, Arriaga reportedly told the home owner he had fallen in the river and gave the man $45 to drive him to a Rite-Aid drug store in Wayne County.
Arriaga was eventually traced to a relative’s home in Ohio, and waived extradition to West Virginia. Smith told reporters he expects the suspect to arrive here on Wednesday.
Later in the day on Tuesday, Ricky Dean Peterson, 20, of Wayne was arrested for allegedly lying to police about the shooting. A criminal complaint said Arriaga went to Peterson’s home after the killing and told him about it. Peterson is alleged to have told officers he knew nothing of the case.
Peterson is charged with obstruction, providing false information to an officer and accessory after the fact.
A gun police believed was used in the murder was reportedly found Tuesday, along with clothing belonging to the murder suspect.
Officers said the investigation is continuing.