Lawyer Claims Excavator Operator Didn't Cause Building Collapse - FOX 35 News Orlando

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.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Only On Fox: Arsonist On The Loose In South Jersey Town

    Only On Fox: Arsonist On The Loose In South Jersey Town

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 4:45 PM EDT2014-04-16 20:45:07 GMT
    It started with a brush fire, then another fire at the rear of this home on Monroe Street and finally a blaze that swept through this vacant home up the block, just a few feet away from where Emma Sethman
    It started with a brush fire, then another fire at the rear of this home on Monroe Street and finally a blaze that swept through this vacant home up the block, just a few feet away from where Emma Sethman
  • Teenage Boy Reported Missing In Camden

    Teenage Boy Reported Missing In Camden

    Teenage Boy Reported Missing In Camden

    Sunday, April 20 2014 1:49 PM EDT2014-04-20 17:49:07 GMT
    Officials say Michael Edwards was last seen when he left his home on the 700 block of Berkley Street. He is described as a black male 5’5, 120 points, with brown eyes and black hair.Officials say Michael Edwards was last seen when he left his home on the 700 block of Berkley Street. He is described as a black male 5’5, 120 points, with brown eyes and black hair.
    Camden County Police are looking for a 15-year old teenage boy reported missing Saturday night.Officials say Michael Edwards was last seen when he left his home on the 700 block of Berkley Street. He is described as a black male 5’5, 120 points, with brown eyes and black hair.He was last seen wearing a red sweatshirt and blue jeans. He has never been reported missing before and may be in Pennsauken.Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the CCPD tip line at (856) 757-7042.
    Camden County Police are looking for a 15-year old teenage boy reported missing Saturday night.Officials say Michael Edwards was last seen when he left his home on the 700 block of Berkley Street. He is described as a black male 5’5, 120 points, with brown eyes and black hair.He was last seen wearing a red sweatshirt and blue jeans. He has never been reported missing before and may be in Pennsauken.Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the CCPD tip line at (856) 757-7042.
  • Beautiful Easter Sunday

    Saturday, April 19 2014 8:09 PM EDT2014-04-20 00:09:12 GMT

    NICE EASTER WEEKEND

    The first half of the holiday weekend has been great and Easter Sunday looks just as nice. Clouds thin out late tonight with temperatures falling back to the 40s.

    Initially it'll be jacket weather early Sunday morning but plenty of sunshine will warm us into the 60s by afternoon.  High temperatures will be a few degrees cooler than Saturday.

    It will be noticeably cooler and breezy at the shore with highs in the low 50s.  Quiet conditions continue into Monday.

Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices