Dredging firm set to plead guilty in death of Biloxian Mark Barhanovich

Mark Barhanovich
Mark Barhanovich

GULFPORT -- A Louisiana-based dredging company has agreed to plead guilty to criminal negligence resulting in the boating death of Biloxian Mark Barhanovich, records in federal court show.

Attorney Joe Sam Owen, representing C.F. Bean LLC, will appear on the company's behalf in U.S. District Court twice Tuesday.

An initial court appearance is set for 11:30 a.m. before Magistrate Judge John Gargiulo. Records show the company has agreed to waive indictment and be prosecuted on a bill of information.

A plea hearing and sentencing are set for 2 p.m., with Judge Sul Ozerden presiding.

Barhanovich, 54, died Sept. 16, 2012, in a boating accident near the eastern tip of Deer Island. His 23-foot fishing vessel hit an object, causing his outboard motor to break and flip into the boat. Its propeller struck him in the back.

The object was a partially submerged dredging pipe. C.F. Bean had taken down lights and other warning devices before a hurricane and failed to replace them, a U.S. Coast Guard report said.

The report was included in a related civil lawsuit filed for his widow, Jerrie Barhanovich, and their children.

The U.S. Attorney's Office filed the criminal charge Sept. 16, three years after his death. The charge comes under a federal law that applies to misconduct or neglect of ship officers.

Barhanovich was an insurance agent and was widely known for his volunteer work with charitable organizations, including the Biloxi Doll & Toy Fund and the Salvation Army.

He was a parishioner at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church for more than three decades.

C.F. Bean's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.