(Reuters) - A Philadelphia construction contractor was sentenced on Friday to 15 years to 30 years in prison for his role in a 2013 building demolition that caused an adjacent store to collapse, killing six people, according to prosecutors.
Griffin Campbell, 51, was convicted at a Philadephia trial in October 2014 of involuntary manslaughter and other charges.
The only other person to face criminal charges stemming from the incident at a century-old four-story vacant building in Philadelphia, excavator operator Sean Benschop, 44, was also sentenced to 7-1/2 to 15 years in prison on Friday.
Benschop, who tested positive for marijuana following the collapse, pleaded guilty last year to six counts of involuntary manslaughter and other charges as part of a plea deal limiting his prison term to no more than 20 years. He also testified at Campbell’s trial for the prosecution.
Campbell rejected the same plea offer.
Prosecutors said Campbell recklessly cut corners during the demolition, which sent a brick wall from the building crashing down on a Salvation Army thrift store next door, killing two employees and four customers.
More than a dozen others were injured, including a woman who had both legs amputated after she was trapped under the rubble for more than 12 hours.
Campbell’s defense lawyers argued at trial that he was a scapegoat for decisions made by the architect and others who pressed him to accelerate the project.
Many of the families of those injured or killed have filed civil lawsuits against Campbell, the building’s owner and others. Those cases remain pending.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement he hoped the sentences would help “bring closure to the victims’ loved ones who are still dealing with this tragedy.”
Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe