By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Contractor Griffin Campbell and heavy equipment operator Sean Benschop, both charged with third-degree murder in the June 5, 2013 demolition site collapse that killed six and injured 13 at 22nd and Market Streets, could be set free to await trial. Their attorneys, on the eve of the first anniversary of the deadly collapse, revealing they plan to ask a judge to set bail.
“We’ll move quickly on bail and I think the judge will grant us bail,” said Campbell’s attorney Willam Hobson.
“We hope to get him out as soon as possible, we going to work toward that,” stated Benschop’s attorney Daine Grey.
Both attorneys spoke out following a hearing at the Criminal Justice Center in which their motion to have a conspiracy charge against their clients dropped was denied by a judge.
The two suspects are behind bars, held without bail, on third-degree murder and other charges. Prosecutors say Benschop, allegedly impaired by marijuana, used an excavator, swinging a heavy steel beam, leading to a wall collapsing onto an adjoining Salvation Army store. Campbell, who employed Benschop, is accused of ignoring warnings about the hazardous conditions.
Attorneys for both suspects say they are scapegoats.
“Why are those at the lowest level being implicated for decisions that could have been made by those in charge?,” demanded attorney Grey.
“I don’t think he’s the monster he’s being made out to be, in fact, I know he’s not,” added Kim Campbell, the contractor’s wife.
But Jennifer Selber, prosecutor and chief of the District Attorney’s homicide unit, says because both suspects could face life terms if convicted of multiple counts, there should be no bail.
“We will oppose it,” Selber said. “It is not a bailable offense.”
With less than 48 hours until the collapse anniversary, the timeline for victims and families awaiting justice remains unclear.
The final grand jury report is still not completed, and no date is yet set for the two suspects to stand trial.