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EXCLUSIVE: Family Of Contractor Charged In Deadly Building Collapse Speaks Out

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(credit: CBS) Walt Hunter
Eyewitness News Reporter Walt Hunter is one of the market's ...
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By Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The family of contractor Griffin Campbell, charged with murder in the 22d and Market St. demolition site collapse last June, that killed 6 and left more than a dozen injured, says Campbell has told them he deeply regrets what happened.

“He’s really sorry for the lost of life. We pray for the families every day,” Campbell’s wife Kim Lee told CBS 3’s Walt Hunter in an exclusive interview.

His 15-year-old daughter Akea Williams adding, “he’s just very apologetic, he didn’t intend for any of this to happen.”

At a February 18th preliminary hearing, a judge held Campbell for trial as well as Sean Benschop, his heavy equipment operator, accused of being under the influence of marijuana. This was based on video evidence and testimony that Campbell’s demolition crew acted with criminal negligence causing a wall to topple onto a Salvation Army store. But Campbell family says others need to be investigated as well.

“We are genuinely apologetic but my dad is not responsible, not solely responsible for this traffic accident,” Campbell’s daughter said.

“He’s the lowest man on the totem pole and they picked him because he is the lowest man on the totem pole,” his wife added.

Campbell’s family and attorney say the man who hired the contractor, architect Plato Marinakos, who has been granted immunity from prosecution, in addition to the owner of the site should also be scrutinized by the grand jury, as well as the City of Philadelphia whose inspectors were responsible for making sure the site was safe.

“The City of Philadelphia failed,” stated Campbell’s attorney Bill Hobson. “The biggest player in this is the City of Philadelphia failing its citizens.”

Campbell’s father telling Hunter, “People need to understand, if he could have left that day,without this happening, right now that would be his only wish.”

Campbell remains behind bars held without bail.

Marinakos’ attorney did not respond to a request for comment. The attorney for the site’s owner declined comment.

Press Secretary Mark McDonald, responding to Hobson’s comment on the city’s responsibility in the collapse, wrote, “the attorney ought to focus on his own client and the charges he is facing.”

The collapse remains under investigation by the grand jury.

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