A contractor has been charged with murder in the collapse of a building in Philadelphia that claimed the lives of six people and injured another 13 on June 5, 2013.
Griffin T. Campbell, 49, was charged with six counts of third-degree murder, six counts of involuntary manslaughter, and 13 counts of reckless endangerment.
The building was located at the corner of 22nd and Market Streets. As it was being dismantled, a freestanding, four-story brick wall collapsed onto the roof of an adjacent Salvation Army Thrift Store. The store’s roof collapsed under the weight, and shoppers and staff were trapped under the debris.
The charges stem from the manner in which Griffin ordered the building to be dismantled. According to District Attorney Seth Williams, demolition experts told the grand jury that the only safe method to take the building apart was to break it down from the outside, brick by brick. Instead, Williams ordered that key structural elements with resale value were to be removed first. Williams characterized Griffin’s motive as “greed.”
The night before the incident, the project’s expeditor allegedly warned him that the wall was vulnerable to collapse. Just one hour before the collapse, Campbell allegedly called the expeditor to say the wall had been taken down.
The attorney representing the majority of the victims and their families said that as the grand jury continued to investigate the accident, he looks forward to seeing if anyone higher up Campbell’s chain of command can be indicted. Campbell’s attorney denies that his client did anything wrong.
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