By Steve Tawa

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jury selection was moving swiftly, but hit a snag in the trial of the contractor accused of being responsible for the Market Street collapse in 2013.  They’ve picked 12 jurors and most alternates but still need to pick one more alternate.  Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday afternoon.

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Six people died and 13 were injured when an adjoining building collapsed on a Salvation Army thrift store.

 

After six jurors were picked, defense attorney William Hobson griped for a second time about what he called racial discrimination by prosecutors. He exclaimed they don’t want African-Americans in the jury box.

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His client, 51-year old Griffin Campbell, a demolition contractor, is African-American.

Assistant DA Jennifer Selbert, chief of the homicide unit, noted Hobson’s first three strikes were of white men. Judge Glenn Bronson also pointed out when they reached six jurors that two were black and one was Hispanic.

Hobson also says his client didn’t take a plea arrangement that his heavy equipment operator did by pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges that could result in a 10-20 year prison sentence.

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He says Campbell is innocent in what amounted to a tragic accident.