By Clive Young
New York (February 3, 2006)–Nearly three years ago, the Station Night Club in West Warwick, RI burned to the ground during a Great White concert, killing 100 people and injuring more than 200 others in the process. On Tuesday, the band’s manager, Daniel M. Biechele, 29, plead guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter, having ignited the stage pyrotechnics that started the blaze.
Biechele will be sentenced to no more than 10 years in prison, according to Providence County Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan. Biechele was originally due to go to trial in May, but instead chose a plea deal, the contents of which are being kept secret. However, it is widely speculated that it may include cooperation with prosecutors to help build their case against Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, two brothers who owned the club.
The Derderians are accused of negligence, in part due to installing highly flammable soundproofing which cause the fire to spread throughout the venue within seconds. The club owners also failed to register it with the town as required by state fire codes.
The Derderians are each charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter, as was Biechele. While all involved received two counts for each death, they can only be sentenced on 100 counts each, because, according to the New York Times, the charges use two competing legal theories–one set of counts are for manslaughter caused by criminal negligence while the other 100 are for misdemeanor activity. The Derderians potentially face up to 30 years in prison per count.