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Seventeen-year-old T.J. Lane is suspected of opening fire in the cafeteria at Chardon High School on Monday. Three students died and two were wounded.

WEST VIRGINIA

Ex-security chief gets 3 years in mine blast

BECKLEY — A former security chief convicted of lying to investigators about the April 2010 explosion that killed 29 men at a southern West Virginia coal mine was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday.

Hughie Elbert Stover was convicted of lying to investigators and ordering a subordinate to destroy thousands of security-related documents at the Upper Big Branch mine following the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in four decades.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin had sought a 25-year sentence, hoping to send a resounding message about Stover’s crimes following the explosion.

Federal sentencing guidelines called for a total sentence of about three years for both crimes. Judges do not have to follow the guidelines.

Witnesses testified that Stover instructed mine guards to send out radio alerts whenever inspectors entered the property, which is illegal. Stover denied the claims in a November 2010 interview with investigators.

The second count alleged Stover sought to destroy documents in January 2011 by ordering a subordinate to bag them and then throw them into an on-site trash compactor, which is also illegal. Massey Energy, which owned the mine at the time, repeatedly warned employees to keep all records while the disaster remained under investigation. Company officials told investigators of the trashed documents, which were recovered.

Defense attorney William D. Wilmoth said Stover’s actions were innocent mistakes and he deserved no jail time.

CALIFORNIA

Snowstorm creates Sierra avalanche threat

TRUCKEE — Officials issued avalanche warnings Wednesday as the biggest California storm of a dry winter season kept hammering the northern Sierra Nevada.

High winds, intense snowfall and a weak snowpack combined to create dangerous conditions, the Sierra Avalanche Center advisory said. It recommended that skiers stay out of avalanche terrain.

The storm has dropped visibility to a quarter-mile or less on Interstate 80, forcing Caltrans to require chains and impose a 30 mph speed limit from Colfax to 11 miles east of the Nevada state line.

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