Deputies: Tree service owner 'recklessly' caused employee's death

August 21, 2019 12:08 PM

MOUNT MORRIS, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Warsaw business owner is charged with manslaughter after deputies say he "recklessly" caused the death of a 21-year-old employee.

Deputies arrested 84-year-old Kenneth Murtha, the owner of Ken's Tree Service, in connection to the death of Cecil Beardslee-West of Perry.


Beardslee-West was killed while he was moving logs at a home in Mount Morris back in May. Investigators say he was holding onto a metal chain that was attached to a crane moving the logs. The chain touched an overhead power line, and he was electrocuted. 

Investigators say Beardslee-West had only been working for the tree service for a week at the time of his death.

Investigators say Murtha was operating the crane that day and failed to safety measures in place, "recklessly" causing the death of Beardslee-West.

Murtha also allegedly did not have a license to legally operate the crane and had previously failed his practical portion of the exam.

Murtha is in the Livingston County Jail on $1,00 cash bail or $2,000 bond.


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