The Sierra County Grand Jury has charged the Sixteen to One Mine, CEO Mike Miller and mine foreman Jonathan Farrell with involuntary manslaughter and a similar violation of the Labor Code.
The indictment was filed on Tuesday, October 29.
The charges are similar to those previously filed by attorneys employed by the California District Attorneys Association. The inclusion of the mine corporation is the only novelty.
The first count, a penal code violation, felony involuntary manslaughter, charges the three ‘did unlawfully and without malice, kill Mark Raymond Fussell, a human being, in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; and without due caution and circumspection.”
Fussell was killed in an accident in November 2000 at the mine.
The first charge carries penalties of two, three or four years in state prison.
The second count of the indictment charges an additional crime by the three entities under the California labor Code. That section accuses the three of willful violation of a requirement “that where overhead clearance is restricted, warning devices shall be installed and the restricted area shall be conspicuously marked,” which resulted in Fussell’s death.
That charge carries penalties of 16 months, two or three years in state prison, plus fines up to $350,000.
A corporation is liable to a fine up to $1.5 million.
A visiting judge set a $25,000 bail for Miller and Farrell. A bail hearing has been arranged for 10:30 A.M., today, immediately after the pair are scheduled to turn themselves in.
“I don’t think people appreciate the fact that we’re seriously broke,” said Miller. “I’ve been working for a year without pay. I don’t know how we’re going to come up with $50,000.”
Miller offered to put up the “whopper,” a nugget worth $44,000 in gold alone, with cash as surety. Unfortunately, that part of the U.S. Constitution which reads that only silver and gold shall be coin of the realm is no longer operative, and the courts will not accept the nugget.
Inasmuch as the pair were released on their promise to appear after the previous charges were filed, a greatly reduced, or no bail requirement is expected.
Editor, Mountain Messenger