Attorneys claim collapse workers are being ‘scapegoated,’ after motion to drop conspiracy charges denied

Rescue workers search for victims and clear debris from a building that collapsed at 22nd and Market Streets, June 5, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Credit: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Rescue workers search for victims and clear debris from the building collapse at 22nd and Market streets, which occurred on June 5, 2013. Credit: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

General contractor Griffin Campbell and backhoe operator Sean Benschop, facing murder charges for the deaths of six people inside the Salvation Army which collapsed June 5, 2013 while Griffin and Campbell were demolishing the building next door, failed to get conspiracy charges against them dropped Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Campbell and Benschop allegedly “conspired” by allowing a dangerous demolition to take place, according to their lawyers.

But Benschop’s lawyer Daine A. Grey Jr. said his client has been “scapegoated” for following orders on June 5.

“If he hadn’t followed directions, they would’ve got somebody else … What you have is somebody who had a criminal record, who had a crazy-looking mugshot, who looked like they’d be the person who be the perfect scapegoat,” Grey said.

“I think they’ve been overzealous in the fact that while they’ve looked at my client and the general contractor, there were a number of entities more culpable, who controlled methods and means of demolition, who have not been looked at, who they’re not going after or who they’re using to prosecute my client,” he said.

Griffin’s lawyer William Hobson also said his client has been “overcharged.”

“If that job site was so apparently dangerous, why wouldn’t Plato [Marinakos] as the board-certified architect say ‘Hey stop this’?” Hobson asked. “L&I never shut it down, OSHA never shut it down. My guy, he’s not just on the low end of the totem pole. He’s an easy target.”

Hobson pointed out that other workers on the project who removed joists from the structure under demolition prior to the collapse, which he said significantly decreased the stability of the structure, have not been arrested or charged for their actions.

Philadelphia D.A.’s Office prosecutor Jennifer Selber, who handled the hearing today, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Campnbell and Benschop remain incarcerated.


Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…


Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.


U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due…

U.S. and European airlines halted flights to Tel Aviv in an effort to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in Israel and the region has intensified.


Eric Garner death prompts NYPD retraining, pols demanding…

The New York City Police Department will revise training procedures for its officers following the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner after an arrest gone awry.


Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.


Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.


'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.


PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.


MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack


2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?


5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.


'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.


Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.


5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.


Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…


Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.