Man facing wire fraud charge in Maine indicted for negligent homicides in NH

Posted Jan. 20, 2013, at 11:50 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 21, 2013, at 6:28 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The man accused of bilking Brownville officials out of more than $200,000 in block grant funds has been indicted on two counts each of manslaughter and negligent homicide in New Hampshire in connection with an explosion and fire in 2010.

Craig Sanborn, 63, of Maidstone, Vt., was indicted Jan. 6, 2012, by a Coos County, N.H., grand jury in connection with the deaths on May 14, 2010, of Jesse Kennett, 49, and Donald Kendall, 56, according to information provided by the Berlin, N.H., Daily Sun.

Information about Sanborn’s arraignment date in New Hampshire was not available Sunday. A trial has been set for May, according to documents filed in a wrongful death lawsuit by the victims’ family members.

Three days prior to his indictment in New Hampshire, Sanborn pleaded not guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with his alleged dealings with Brownville officials between October 2005 and October 2006 in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

In New Hampshire, Sanborn is accused of causing the men’s deaths by negligently engaging in “the manufacture, production, testing and storage of explosive materials that resulted in a fire at 23 Gould St. in Colebrook.”

In a story about the indictments, The Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader said that “the explosion at Millennium Design Muzzleloaders plant in the Colebrook Industrial Park rocked downtown Colebrook.”

Sanborn denied being at fault, the newspaper reported, but Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials “concluded there were huge safety problems and blamed Sanborn.

“An OSHA investigation determined that the workers had been required to hand feed powder into operating equipment,” the paper said. “Following the investigation, OSHA issued the plant 54 workplace safety and health citations with penalties totaling $1.2 million.”

Under the terms of the agreement with the federal agency, Sanborn “was barred from ever making explosives again in the future,” the Manchester paper reported.

The wrongful death lawsuit has been stayed pending the outcome of the criminal case against Sanborn, according to court documents. Family members of the men killed in the explosion in October 2011 filed a wrongful death suit in federal court in Concord, N.H., against Sanborn and a California couple, who are alleged to be part owners of the building where Sanborn’s business operated.

The lawsuit is in New Hampshire because that is where the relatives of the victims live.

The families are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story contained incorrect information. The explosion that resulted in the deaths of two men was at the Millennium Design Muzzleloaders plant in Colebrook, N.H. All court dates related to the incident are also in New Hampshire. In addition Craig Sanborn, was indicted Jan. 6, 2012, not Jan. 6 of this year.

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