RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court sounded skeptical of the claims raised by a former West Virginia mine security chief convicted of lying to investigators after the 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners. .
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Hughie Elbert Stover's case Friday. The court usually takes several weeks to issue a ruling.
Stover supervised security guards at the Upper Big Branch mine. A jury found that he lied to investigators about whether miners were warned whenever inspectors arrived at the mine.
Stover's lawyer argued that there was no evidence that Stover knowingly gave a false statement.
Judge Andre Davis said there was "tons of circumstantial evidence." And Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III stressed the importance of unannounced inspections.