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Wyoming County business owner charged in death of tree service worker

Posted at 12:14 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 12:21:08-04

TOWN OF MOUNT MORRIS, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Wyoming County business owner is being charged in connection with the death of one of his employees, a 21-year-old Wyoming County man.

The Livingston County Sheriff's Office announced after a three month investigation 84-year-old Kenneth F. Murtha of Warsaw was arrested and charged with manslaughter in the second degree in connection with the death of 21-year-old Cecil Beardslee-West of Perry.

Murtha owned Ken's Tree Service and Beardslee-West was employed there, on May 21st 2019 Beardsleee-West was killed while working at a residence on Ridge Road in the Town of Mount Morris. The sheriff's office says Murtha operated the crane that caused Beardslee-West's death, they say Murtha's operation and failure to put safety measures in place recklessly caused Beardslee-West's death.

Officials say Murtha was operating the crane too close to a power line, which electrocuted Beardslee-West and killed him. Murtha also did not have a license to legally operate the crane and previously failed his practical portion of the exam.

Murtha remains in custody on $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond.