War of Words Over Deadly Building Collapse Responsibility - New York News

War of Words Over Deadly Building Collapse Responsibility

Posted: Updated:
PHILADELPHIA -

The criminal investigation into last week's deadly building collapse went high tech Tuesday as Montgomery County crime scene experts used a laser scanner to help city police recreate the collapse scene at 22nd and Market Streets where six people lost their lives.

"I believe there's a rush to judgement. I believe my client is being scapegoated," said Attorney Daine Grey Jr., who represents accused backhoe operator Sean Benschop, now charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter, risking a catastrophe and reckless endangerment.  

The investigation went on as new information surfaced about accused excavator operator Sean Benschop. City officials now confirm he was approved to do city demolition work and had five recent city contracts to do demolition projects totaling about $75,000. Included in that work  was a demolition on page street and an unfinished job on 63rd Street. Tyrone Thompson lives up the block.

"They used a backhoe for this," Thompson told FOX 29. "It was pretty professional. They weren't bad guys."

The mayor's spokesman says Benschop met the city's qualifications to tear down "imminently dangerous" structures. He had the proper insurance and disclosed his prior criminal record before his firm, S & R Contracting,  did work on city demolition projects.

Lex Allen lives next door to one of Benschop's job sites. "As far as I'm concerned he did a professional job, he just never finished it," Allen said.

"I know that he did not have any concerns about Mr. Benschop's fitness," said the attorney for contractor Griffin Campbell, who hired Benschop to operate this huge back hoe. He spoke out on behalf of his client Tuesday, saying he is not to blame for the collapse.

"He is absolutely not responsible. His directions were clear. He was not operating the excavator. The excavator was not to be used for demolition purposes in that part of the building," Kenneth Edelin told a packed afternoon press conference.

"My client only followed orders and directions given by his superiors on the site. Period," Grey told FOX 29.

"How come the lowest man on the totem pole is being publicly dragged through the mud while the two people who may be more culpable than anybody have a secret grand jury process," Grey added, referring to the contractor and the property owners.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Garner's family meets U.S. attorney

    Staten Island stores worried about rally

    Staten Island stores worried about rally

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:01 PM EDT2014-08-22 03:01:16 GMT
    The Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of Eric Garner came from a meeting with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in which they asked for a federal civil rights investigation into his apparent chokehold death. Meantime, Staten Island businesses are bracing for the huge crowds expected at Saturday's march. Sharpton said he is estimating about 3,000 to 5,000 people to rally Saturday.
    The Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of Eric Garner came from a meeting with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in which they asked for a federal civil rights investigation into his apparent chokehold death. Meantime, Staten Island businesses are bracing for the huge crowds expected at Saturday's march. Sharpton said he is estimating about 3,000 to 5,000 people to rally Saturday.
  • Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team auditions

    Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team auditions

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:26 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:26:39 GMT
    Out of over 500 hopefuls only a handful will join the Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team. The Nets held auditions this week at LIU Brooklyn. Adorable Bronx native Arielle was turned away last year but this time around she's made it through to the final round of the auditions. But even those who were on the team last year still have to try out.
    Out of over 500 hopefuls only a handful will join the Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team. The Nets held auditions this week at LIU Brooklyn. Adorable Bronx native Arielle was turned away last year but this time around she's made it through to the final round of the auditions. But even those who were on the team last year still have to try out.
  • Chris Rock gets foul ball at Yankees game

    Chris Rock gets foul ball at Yankees game

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:03:11 GMT
    Chris Rock almost made the play of the day at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the comedian wound up with a nice prize -- a foul ball that nearly landed in his lap during Thursday's game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
    Chris Rock almost made the play of the day at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the comedian wound up with a nice prize -- a foul ball that nearly landed in his lap during Thursday's game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices