Bumble Bee Pleads Guilty in Industrial Oven Death of Worker Jose Melena

Bumble Bee LLC pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the death of a Wilmington man who was cooked for two hours while trapped inside an industrial oven working at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant. “I’ve … been a prosecutor for more than 20 years. I’ve tried more than 40 murder cases, and this is the worst circumstances of death I have ever, ever witnessed,” a deputy D.A. said. “I think any person would prefer to be, if they had to die some way … to be shot or stabbed than to be slowly cooked to death in an oven.” The pleas — which were anticipated under a $6 million settlement reached with the San Diego-based company in 2015 — stem from the Oct. 11, 2012, death of 62-year-old Jose Melena.  Melena entered a 35-foot-long cylindrical oven used to sterilize cans of tuna at the plant. Co-workers, who were unaware that he was inside the oven, loaded 12,000 pounds of canned tuna and inadvertently trapped him in the back of the oven. He was found dead after the two-hour sterilization process. After the 2015 hearing, Chun described the circumstances of Melena’s death as “about as bad as you can imagine.” Read the rest of the story here 13:31