Wednesday, May 10, 2006
According to CNN.com, Daniel Biechele, the former GREAT WHITE band manager whose pyrotechnics caused a nightclub fire that killed 100 people was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison.
Daniel Biechele, 29, could have gotten as much as 10 years behind bars under a deal he struck with prosecutors in February, when he pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
“The greatest sentence that can be imposed upon you, has been imposed upon you by yourself,” Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan Jr. told Biechele, drawing sobs from some of those in the courtroom. (Watch Biechele as he is sentenced to prison — :55)
The sentence came after two days of anguished testimony from the victims’ families, who told of college graduations they would never see, grandchildren they would never hold, and such grief that they could not get out of bed in the morning.
Biechele was the tour manager for heavy metal band GREAT WHITE when on February 20, 2003, he lit a pyrotechnics display that ignited highly flammable foam that lined the walls and ceiling of The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The foam was used as soundproofing and was placed there by the owners after neighbors complained about noise from the club.
Biechele is the first person to be sentenced for the fire. The owners of the club are awaiting trial on manslaughter charges.
Biechele offered his first public comments about what happened, apologizing repeatedly and choking back tears.
“I know how this tragedy has devastated me, but I can only begin to understand what the people who have lost loved ones have endured,” he told the court. “I don’t know that I’ll ever forgive myself for what happened that night, so I can’t expect anyone else to.”
“I never wanted anyone to be hurt in any way,” he said. “I never imagined that anyone ever would be.”
Again, the full article can be read at CNN.com.