A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced notorious coal baron Don Blankenship to one year in prison, another year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000—the maximum sentence Blankenship faced—for his role in a 2010 West Virginia coal mine blast that killed 29 workers.The sentence comes six years and one day after the explosion at Upper Big Branch. Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, was convicted in December of conspiracy to violate mine safety laws.The sentence is \u0022a long time coming,\u0022 Dr. Judy Jones Peterson, whose brother Dean Jones died in the accident, said ahead of the hearing in Charleston.\u0022We\u0026#039;ve been waiting for this day,\u0022 she said.U.S. District Judge Irene Berger found that Blankenship abused his position of trust as Massey CEO and organized criminal activity with five or more participants, as Ken Ward wrote for the Charleston Gazette.Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby told the court that Blankenship had prioritized money over safety and endangered the lives of his workers. Ruby had previously requested the maximum sentence in the case, writing in an 11-page court briefing last week, \u0022What punishment can suffice for wrongdoing so monstrous?\u0022\u0022If ever a case cried out for the maximum sentence, this is it,\u0022 Ruby said Wednesday. \u0022Breaking mine safety laws kills people. Breaking mine safety laws kills coal miners. The defendant placed human lives in jeopardy.\u0022Blankenship\u0026#039;s trial has been closely monitored by rights groups who see him as the face of corporate malice. Robert Weissman, president of the watchdog group Public Citizen, said Wednesday that the sentence—albeit light—was \u0022the right thing to do.\u0022\u0022With heavy hearts, coal miners and their families today can celebrate a modicum of justice,\u0022 Weissman said. \u0022For decades, coal company executives have ruthlessly endangered the lives of coal miners, disregarding the law and sure they could escape, at worst, with slap-on-the-wrist penalties.\u0022\u0022Hopefully today\u0026#039;s sentence signals a new day, when executives can and will be held accountable and put in jail for their crimes,\u0022 Weissman said.