Demolition worker pleads guilty in deadly Philly building collapse

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 21, 2015 12:13 PM

By Elizabeth Daley

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A demolition contractor pleaded guilty on Tuesday to manslaughter and other charges for a Pennsylvania building collapse that killed six people and severely injured others two years ago.

Sean Benschop, 44, was operating a crane to demolish a four-story building in downtown Philadelphia in June 2013 when the structure crumbled onto a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store, trapping those inside. A toxicology report taken after the demolition showed that Benschop tested positive for marijuana.

In addition to the six people who were killed under falling brick and lumber, another 12 were injured, some with serious head injuries. One victim lost both legs.

Benschop, who was head of S&R Contracting, pleaded guilty to six counts of involuntary manslaughter and multiple counts of reckless endangerment and conspiracy.

A statement from the district attorney's office said Benschop could face 10 to 20 years in prison when sentenced.

Benschop's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lead contractor on the fatal demolition job, Griffin Campbell, is awaiting trial on multiple charges, including third-degree murder, for the collapse.

(Editing by Laila Kearney and Bill Trott)