UPDATE: Contractor In Deadly Center City Building Collapse Held Without Bail
By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A second person has been charged in connection with the center city demolition site collapse last June that killed six people and injured more than a dozen others, some very seriously.
It was revealed Monday that a Philadelphia grand jury has handed up the indictment of Griffin Campbell, the owner of the company that was performing the demolition of a building near 22nd and Market Streets when it collapsed on an adjacent Salvation Army thrift store, crushing employees and customers inside.
Campbell is being charged with third-degree murder and six counts of involuntary manslaughter, and related crimes.
In its presentment, the grand jury alleges that he knew the risk of danger, ignored warnings, and lied about corrective actions he was taking.
The grand jury report says Campbell decided and controlled the demolition procedure in a manner that caused the catastrophe.
“Campbell was unwilling to pay for enough labor to perform the necessary tasks,” says Philadelphia DA Seth Williams. “On the morning of Wedneseday, June the fifth, most of the west wall still loomed over the job site and the Salvation Army building, yet Campbell called the architect just after nine to tell him, quite falsely, the wall had been taken down.”
The walls collapsed at 10:41 that morning.
Sean Benschop, a heavy equipment operator working for Campbell at the time, was the first person charged in connection with the deadly building collapse (see related stories). Investigators say he tested positive for marijuana in his system right after the disaster. He was charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Campbell turned himself in to police this afternoon. His attorney, William Hobson, said his client would plead not guilty to all charges.
Hobson said he expects bail to be set at $1 million, which he calls “unreasonably high.”
“(It’s) nothing more than pretrial incarceration to my client, and they know it,” Hobson said. “The City of Philadelphia, the district attorney, the mayor and L&I have done everything in their power to strip my client of his rights.”
Hobson says Campbell has cooperated with the grand jury investigating the building collapse.
On Tuesday night, Campbell was ordered held without bail.