List of officials who declined to be interviewed
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States provides an individual with protection from self-incrimination. Self-incrimination, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, includes acts or declarations either as testimony at trial or prior to trial by which one implicates himself in a crime. The Fifth Amendment prohibits the government from requiring a person to be a witness against himself involuntarily or to furnish evidence against himself. The following individuals, when they were subpoenaed by the State of West Virginia,1 through their attorneys invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and declined to be interviewed by investigators examining the April 5, 2010 explosion at Upper Big Branch mine.
Christopher Adkins, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Massey Energy
Robert Asbury, Captain, Massey Energy’s Southern WV mine rescue team
Chris Blanchard, President, Upper Big Branch mine
Don Blankenship, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Massey Energy
Elizabeth Chamberlin, Vice President of Safety, Massey Energy
Jamie Ferguson, Vice President, Performance Coal; member of Massey Energy mine rescue team
Rick Foster, Mine Foreman, Upper Big Branch
Gary Frampton, Chief of Safety, Route 3 Engineering; former MSHA employee
Everett Hager, Superintendent for north side, Upper Big Branch mine
Eric Lilly, Engineer, Route 3 Engineering
Gary May, Superintendent for south side, Upper Big Branch mine
Paul McCombs, Chief Engineer, Route 3 Engineering
Terry Moore, Longwall Section Foreman, Upper Big Branch mine
Rick Nicolau, Chief Electrician, Upper Big Branch mine2
Wayne Persinger, Mine Manager, Upper Big Branch
Jack Roles, Longwall Coordinator, Upper Big Branch mine3
Bill Ross, Massey Coal Services; former MSHA ventilation supervisor, Mt. Hope district office
Jason Whitehead, Vice President, Upper Big Branch mine; several months after the disaster, promoted to Vice President, Underground Operations, Massey Energy
1 The individuals’ titles are based on publicly available documents and witness testimony. We were unable to confirm them personally with the individuals due to their declination to be interviewed.
2 Mr. Nicolau agreed to a voluntary interview, which was scheduled for May 19, 2011.
3 Mr. Roles’ did not technically invoke his Fifth Amendment rights. His attorney asserted that the subpoena issued by the State of West Virginia on behalf of the WV Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training was unlawful. The attorney indicated that if his client were subpoenaed again, Mr. Roles would invoke his constitutional privilege.