Lawyer Claims Excavator Operator Didn't Cause Building Collapse - My9 New Jersey

Excavator Operator Didn't Cause Deadly Building Collapse, Lawyer Claims

Posted: Updated:
Benschop who was operating the back hoe the day of the collapse Benschop who was operating the back hoe the day of the collapse
District Attorney Seth Williams District Attorney Seth Williams
PHILADELPHIA -

"He didn't cause the collapse of the building."

Insisting his client is being made a scapegoat for the building collapse that killed six people and injured 13 more, the lawyer for excavator operator Sean Benschop, aka Kary Roberts, again defended the 43 year old construction worker, claiming he's not to blame for the tragedy.

"We believe that building was completely unstable and probably would have fallen if nobody showed up at the job site anyway," said defense attorney Daine Grey Jr..

A judge gave some ground Wednesday, setting bail at $1.5 million for the demolition back hoe operator who's charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter and 13 counts of reckless endangerment. Benschop has been held without bail.

Mr. Benschop is not a flight risk," Grey said. "A flight risk doesn't turn himself in immediately after learning there's a warrant for his arrest."

"It's too early right now for me to say anything," said District Attorney Seth Williams.

The DA has convened a grand jury to investigate the collapse and what led up to it. He dodged questions Wednesday about where the grand jury investigation is headed.

"We won't have a rush to judgement," Williams said. "We're gonna gather information in a timely manner. Documents, interviewing employees, interviewing civilians, interviewing owners, interviewing everyone possible."

Sources meanwhile confirm that Griffin Campbell, the demolition contractor who hired Benschop to work at the demolition site that collapsed, has had his Licenses and Inspection permits pulled and cannot work as a contractor in the city. The DA wouldn't say if subpoenas have gone out for the grand jury.

"If the grand jury believes it's appropriate, then there will be additional indictments," he told reporters outside the court house.

Prosecutors contend Benschop had traces of marijuana and pain killers in his system the morning of the collapse on June 5th. Sources say subpoenas have gone out for city records and documents.

A City Council Investigative Committee will reconvene Thursday for a second hearing into the collapse. Fox 29 has learned that representatives from OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Laborers Union are expected to testify at the hearing.
  • Dave SchratwieserMore>>

  • Newborn of Pregnant Woman Killed In Frankford Dies

    Newborn of Pregnant Woman Killed In Frankford Dies

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:23 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:23:15 GMT
    Police say the 25-year-old Megan Doto was full-term when someone shot her in the face with a .40-caliber, fully automatic weapon just before noon.
    Police say the 25-year-old Megan Doto was full-term when someone shot her in the face with a .40-caliber, fully automatic weapon just before noon.
  • An Inside Look At The Philadelphia Police Department's DIVRT Program

    An Inside Look At The Philadelphia Police Department's DIVRT Program

    Wednesday, September 10 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-09-10 21:52:35 GMT
    Almost every day we show you surveillance videos that help get dangerous criminals off the street.FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser takes us inside Philadelphia's program that's putting those criminals behind bars.It's a plea heard all too often when police put out surveillance video of a crime like of a shooting last week that left a 49-year-old Wynnefield man paralyzed from the waist down.As victim's families plead for the public's help, detectives scramble to find video to identify the shooter. I...
    Almost every day we show you surveillance videos that help get dangerous criminals off the street.FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser takes us inside Philadelphia's program that's putting those criminals behind bars.It's a plea heard all too often when police put out surveillance video of a crime like of a shooting last week that left a 49-year-old Wynnefield man paralyzed from the waist down.As victim's families plead for the public's help, detectives scramble to find video to identify the shooter. I...
  • Police Issue Arrest Warrant For Suspect In Shooting That Left Victim Paralyzed

    Police Issue Arrest Warrant For Suspect In Shooting That Left Victim Paralyzed

    Sunday, September 7 2014 3:18 PM EDT2014-09-07 19:18:37 GMT
    Philadelphia police say they have issued an arrest warrant for Allan Stokes, 23, of the 5700 block of Harmer Street in Philadelphia.
    Philadelphia police say they have issued an arrest warrant for Allan Stokes, 23, of the 5700 block of Harmer Street in Philadelphia.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Kent State University blasts red-stained sweatshirt sold by Urban Outfitters

    Kent State University blasts red-stained sweatshirt sold by Urban Outfitters

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:28 AM EDT2014-09-16 05:28:05 GMT
    A sweatshirt being sold by Urban Outfitters featuring fake blood stains and tattered edges with the logo of Kent State University, where four students were killed in a 1970 incident that shocked America, is “beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life,” university officials said.
    A sweatshirt being sold by Urban Outfitters featuring fake blood stains and tattered edges with the logo of Kent State University, where four students were killed in a 1970 incident that shocked America, is “beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life,” university officials said.
  • Police: 13-Year-Old Shot In Hunting Park

    Police: 13-Year-Old Shot In Hunting Park

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:28 AM EDT2014-09-16 04:28:27 GMT
    Police say a 13-year-old was shot in the city's Hunting Park section by Old York Road and Erie Ave on Monday night.
    Police say a 13-year-old was shot in the city's Hunting Park section by Old York Road and Erie Ave on Monday night.
  • Authorities Continue To Investigate State Police Barracks Shooting

    Authorities Continue To Investigate State Police Barracks Shooting

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:24 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:24:00 GMT

    State police say one trooper is dead and another is injured after a shooting at a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania. 

    State police say one trooper is dead and another is injured after a shooting at a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania. 

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