Orange County Criminal Defense

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Heavy Equipment Operator High on Marijuana When Building Collapses Killing Six

June 9, 2013


PHILADELPHIA (AP) —Sean Benschop, aka Kary Roberts, is accused of six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of risking a catastrophe, for operating an excavator that allegedly led to the collapse of a four story building on top of an attached Salvation Army store.  Benschop is believed to have been high on marijuana at the time of the incident.  Two employees and four customers were killed, and an additional 13 people were injured.

Benschop has a lengthy rap sheet.  He has been arrested at least 11 times since 1994 on charges ranging from drugs to theft to weapons possession, according to court records. He was twice sentenced to prison in the 1990s after being convicted on drug trafficking charges. Benschop’s last arrest, on a charge of aggravated assault, came in January 2012, but the case was dismissed for lack of evidence.

Benschop’s attorney, Daine Grey, said his client was not at fault or responsible for the accident that occurred.

“He has been doing this for more than 13 years. He is very experienced. He has worked for a number of contractors throughout the region. All of the contractors have found him professional and found that he did his work with the highest regard for the safety of those around him.”

Mayor Michael Nutter called for harsh charges and punishment for Benschop, and wanted the property owners, who hired Benschop, also held accountable.

“Justice will only be served if Sean Benschop receives a sentence that buries him in a jailhouse forever, just like his victims were buried on Wednesday.”

For more details on the story, click here.

In California, involuntary manslaughter, a specific type of homicide, is punished under Penal Code section 192(b).  California manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.  Involuntary manslaughter, in California, is manslaughter that is done in one of three ways, either:

— in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, OR

— in the commission of a lawful act that might produce death in an unlawful manner, OR

— in the commission of a lawful that might produce death without due caution and circumspection.


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