Prison Time for Contractors Convicted in Deadly Building Collapse
Contractors Griffin Campbell, 51, and Sean Benschop, 44, were both sentenced to long prisons terms following their convictions in a building collapse that killed six people inside the adjacent Salavation Army at 22nd and Market streets on June 5, 2013.
Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn Bronson sentenced Campbell, the demolition contractor overseeing the job, 15 to 30 years in prison. Benschop, the operator of the excavator at the site when the unsupported wall at former Hoagie City at 2136-38 Market Street toppled onto the neighboring building, was sentenced to 7 1/2 to 15 years.
Campbell was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person, one count of causing a catastrophe and one count of aggravated assault. Benschop pleaded guilty to six counts of involuntary manslaughter and the additional charges of aggravated assault, conspiracy, causing a catastrophe and thirteen counts of reckless endangerment.
District Attorney Seth Williams issued the following statement regarding today’s sentencing:
“I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and grief Mr. Campbell and Mr. Benshop caused the friends and families of those who lost their lives, and those who were injured, when the Market Street Salvation Army Building was crushed by a four-story, unsupported masonry wall in June of 2013. The Assistant District Attorneys who prosecuted this case and me hope that today’s sentences make clear the need for safe demolitions in our city and, most importantly, it helps to bring closure to the victims’ loved ones who are still dealing with this tragedy.”
Six people – Juanita Harmon, Roseline Conteh, Mary Simpson, Kimberly Finnegan, Anne Bryan and Borbor Davis – were killed during the collapse, with 13 more people injured the tragic incident.
The District Attorney’s office sought a 25-to-50 year sentence for Campbell, who, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, is planning to appeal.
The deteriorating building was owned by Richard Basciano, who was not criminally charged. He is named as one of the defendants in a civil suit relating to the collapse, along with Campbell, Benschop, Plato A. Marinakos Jr. — the demolition architect for the project who was granted immunity for his testimony against Campbell and Basciano — and others.
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