WILLIAMSON – The trial dates for both defendants in the Ben Hatfield murder case have been scheduled for Thursday, April 13, 2017 after arraignments were held on Thursday afternoon in Mingo County Circuit Court.
Mingo County Prosecutor Jonathan “Duke” Jewell said the two defendants appeared before Circuit Judge Miki Thompson. Arraignments were held on Thursday for the two suspects and others recently indicted by a Mingo County Grand Jury.
Anthony Raheem Arriaga, 20 of Gibsonburg, Ohio and Brandon Lee Fitzpatrick, 18 of Louisa, Ky. are charged with the murder of a well-known former coal company executive Ben Hatfield at a local cemetery last May, 2016.
Hatfield was decorating gravesites at Mountain View Memory Gardens located at Maher, W.Va. when he was fatally shot in the back.
Arriaga was issued an indictment on charges related to murder in the first degree, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery. Arriaga was held without bond at the Southwestern Regional Jail located in Holden, W.Va.
Fitzpatrick was also issued an indictment on charges related to first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery in the first degree and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Around Memorial Day in May, 2016, Fitzpatrick was arrested on unrelated drug charges In Northern Kentucky and was extradited back to Mingo County. Fitzpatrick was arraigned before Judge Thompson. He was later charged in the high-profile murder of Hatfield.
The case was investigated by the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD). Investigators for MCSD stated the two young men had intentions of stealing Hatfield’s SUV, a Denali, so they could sell it for money. Instead the robbery apparently went wrong and Fitzpatrick drove away from the scene leaving Arriaga.
According to a police report, after the alleged shooting of Hatfield, who was shot in the back, Arriaga went over the river bank, and then fell in the muddy Tug River. He then reportedly removed his clothing and made his way a few hundred yards down the river and went to a nearby residence at Maher. Arriaga told the resident that he had fallen into the river and requested dry clothing and a ride to Wayne County, W.Va.
From that point the accused contacted a friend who gave him a ride back to Allen County, Ohio.
Hatfield had been reported missing by a friend. His cell phone was pinged and that helped law enforcement find his body.
Information in this article was obtained by use of indictment. Those named should be considered innocent until and unless proven guilty.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)