Man convicted in fatal NH explosion on trial - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : news : regional November 24, 2015

Man convicted in fatal NH explosion on trial

BANGOR, Maine (AP) -- A Vermont man convicted of manslaughter in a fatal explosion at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is being prosecuted on federal wire fraud charges in Maine.

Craig Sanborn -- formerly of Maidstone, Vt. -- was sentenced in November to 10 to 20 years in prison for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at the Black Mag plant in Colebrook.

Sanborn's trial in federal district court in Bangor, Maine begins Monday.

The federal indictment alleges Sanborn -- who opened a munitions plant in Brownville in 2005 -- fraudulently obtained $300,000 in federal community development block grant money by submitting fake invoices.

In October, a Coos County Superior Court jury convicted Sanborn on two counts of negligent homicide and manslaughter in connection with the explosion that killed Jesse Kennett, 49, of Stratford, and Donald Kendall, 56, of Colebrook. Prosecutors argued that Sanborn was more concerned with rushing to fill a big contract than he was about the safety of his workers.

The mid-day blast May 14, 2010 rattled buildings and sent plumes of black smoke into the air. Dozens of homes were evacuated, and firefighters couldn't get close to the burning site for several hours because ammunition was exploding

At trial, his lawyer countered that the explosion could have been accidental or due to negligence on the part of an employee. He tried to convince the jury that Sanborn couldn't be held responsible because he was out of state at a convention at the time of the blast. Sanborn is appealing those convictions.

Federal prosecutors say Sanborn submitted to Brownville town officials false invoices for materials and services he never purchased. The funds paid to Sanborn between November 2005 and January 2008 came from a federal Community Development Block Grant to renovate an old rail terminal and establish Sanborn's X-Ring Industries ammunition plant at the site.

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