3rd degree murder charges for contractor in Market Street collapse

A grand jury investigating the Market Street building collapse has indicted contractor Griffin Campbell on six counts of third-degree murder, six counts of involuntary manslaughter and other charges.

Announcing the charges today, District Attorney Seth Williams said the grand jury may end up charging others or producing a report on the incident. 

"The grand jury investigation is not over," Williams said. "This arrest is just one step along the road to justice."

Williams called Campbell the "center of culpability" in the incident and said the contractor is expected to turn himself in this afternoon.

Campbell was hired by STB Investments, the firm owned by alleged slumlord Richard Basciano, to demolish a building adjacent to a Salvation Army thrift store at 22nd and Market streets. On June 5, an unsupported mutliple-story wall from the demolition site fell onto the store and crushed those inside.

According to Williams, Campbell was cutting corners on the demolition job, in part to extract joists from the building that were valuable for resale. 

“It would appear, bluntly, the motive is greed," said Williams, responding to a question. "The [grand jury] presentment describes evidence that places Campbell at the center of culpability for the collapse, which killed the six people and seriously wounded others."

Campbell was also charged with 13 counts of reckless endangerment, causing catastrophe, risking catastrophe and criminal conspiracy

The maximum sentences for all charges against Campbell would put him away for many lifetimes. Williams said he will request that Campbell be held without bail.

Also today, the grand jury added a count of criminal conspiracy against excavator operator Sean Benschop, who has already been charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter and is awaiting trial behind bars.