Denise Nakano: A guilty verdict in the trial of a contractor in the Center City Market Street collapse. A Philadelphia jury found Griffin Campbell guilty of six counts of involuntary manslaughter and not guilty of third degree murder charges. Six people died in the building collapse in 2013.
Jim Rosenfield: Joining us now for analysis is NBC 10 legal expert Enrique Latoison. Enrique, thanks for being here this afternoon. Let’s start off with what does it say about the prosecution’s case that jurors opted for the lesser charge.
Enrique Latoison: Well, it says the jury did not believe the prosecution’s theory. He was charged with third degree murder. That was the original lead charge in this case and now at this point, after being acquitted in third degree murder and only being found guilty of the misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter, the actual lead charge at this point is aggravated assault. In order for the prosecution to have proven their case, the charge of third degree murder requires some sort of malice.
To give you an example, it means that the defendant in this case according to the prosecution was aware and knew that this could cause death and didn’t care because he wanted to cut corners. The involuntary manslaughter on the other hand says that he didn’t know. He was an idiot. He was doing this job but didn’t know and didn’t know it was going to cause the death but he was grossly negligent and therefore that’s the involuntary manslaughter.
Denise Nakano: Well, Griffin Campbell had the chance Enrique to plea out before the trial ever started but he turned that down. Tell us about that.
Enrique Latoison: Well, he had the opportunity to plea guilty to the charges that he ended up with. The prosecution gave him an opportunity to have the third degree murder charges actually dropped for a plea bargain. So in this particular case, this is kind of a loss for the prosecution because after going through a complete trial, jury trial, and spending all the money that it takes to prosecute a trial, he ended up with the same exact charges.
So this is kind of a win for the defense because he doesn’t have the third degree murder charges and all he has is involuntary manslaughter which are the misdemeanors along with the felony catastrophe and the aggravated assault charges.
Jim Rosenfield: So obviously the possible sentences are a lot less in this case now.
Enrique Latoison: Yes. I mean he’s definitely looking at a significant decrease in time and this has also been able – for him when he goes to sentencing to be able to tell a judge, “The jury did not believe that I murdered anyone. This is involuntary. There’s no intent here. They only said I was negligent. My behavior was negligent. It wasn’t that I intended to cause the deaths of these people and therefore I should receive a more lenient sentence.”
Jim Rosenfield: All right. Enrique Latoison, thanks again for weighing in here. We will have more reaction on this story coming up tonight at 5 o’clock. We appreciate it.