In brief: Suspect charged in building collapse
Philadelphia – An ex-convict who was allegedly high while operating demolition equipment when a downtown building collapsed and killed six people will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a top city official said Friday.
Sean Benschop, 42, faces six manslaughter counts along with six counts of risking a catastrophe, six counts of reckless endangerment and other charges, Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison told the Associated Press.
Authorities believe Benschop had been using an excavator Wednesday when what was left of the four-story building gave way and fell on top of a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store, killing two employees and four customers, and injuring 13 others.
A toxicology report showed “evidence that he was high” on marijuana, Gillison said.
Benschop 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, for aggravated assault, came in January 2012, but the case was dismissed for lack of evidence.
Alleged kidnapper faces 329 charges
Columbus, Ohio – A man accused of holding three women captive in his run-down home in Cleveland for a decade and fathering a child with one of them has been indicted on 329 charges including murder, kidnapping and rape, prosecutors said.
A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned the indictment Friday against Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver fired last fall.
Castro, 52, is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive along with a 6-year-old girl he fathered with Berry.
The grand jury charged Castro with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of one of the women’s pregnancies. Castro also was indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.
Castro’s attorneys have said he would plead not guilty to any indictment.