PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An excavator operator charged in a building collapse that killed six people two years ago plans to plead guilty Tuesday to charges including involuntary manslaughter and causing a catastrophe, his attorney said.
Sean Benschop “cries and prays almost every night” for the victims and their families and wants to take responsibility for his actions, defense attorney Bill Davis told the Philadelphia Daily News (http://bit.ly/1KgaxjL ).
Benschop, 43, was charged with third-degree murder after a three-story wall of a building being demolished collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift store, killing six people and injuring 13 others, including one person who has since died.
The expected plea to involuntary manslaughter, causing a catastrophe, conspiracy and 12 counts of recklessly endangerment will be an “open plea,” leaving it up to a judge to decide the sentence, Davis said. He said prosecutors had agreed not to ask for more than 10 years to 20 years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber declined to comment.
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Benschop, a native of Guyana who has six children, considers the plea to be “a fair resolution” to his case, Davis said.
Demolition contractor Griffin Campbell, 50, also was charged in the case and is awaiting trial on third-degree murder counts, among others.
“My client’s not guilty,” Campbell’s attorney, William Hobson, told the newspaper. “My client’s going to trial.”
Information from: The Philadelphia Daily News, http://www.philly.com