Miners plead innocent | TheUnion.com

Miners plead innocent

A pair of Sierra County gold miners charged in connection with a fatal mine accident pleaded innocent Thursday.

Michael M. Miller, 60, owner of the Original Sixteen to One Mine in Alleghany, and mine manager Jonathan T. Farrell, 32, are each charged with involuntary manslaughter and failure to comply with occupational safety regulations resulting in death. The mine itself is also listed as a defendant.

A defense argument to drop the charges will be heard Feb. 13 in Sierra County Superior Court.

A grand jury indicted both men in October for the 2000 accidental death of miner Mark R. Fussell. He died after his head became wedged between the battery of a mine locomotive he was driving and a protruding ore chute in a newly opened section of the mine.

Federal investigators reported the chute wasn’t properly marked with warning devices.

A gag order has been placed on lawyers involved in the case – District Attorney Larry Allen and the defense lawyer for the mine, Thomas Crary of Auburn. Miller is representing himself, according to a court clerk.

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