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September 21, 2006

New pleas and sentences in Rhode Island nightclub fire case

Sentencing fanatics may recall the remarkable sentencing proceeding in Rhode Island (discussed here and here) in which the road manager of the band Great White, who had a role in the deadly fire at The Station nightclub three years ago, was sentenced to four years' imprisonment after having pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter.  Today, the New York Times reports here on two new pleas and expected sentences in this case:

Two brothers who owned a Rhode Island nightclub where pyrotechnics ignited a fire that killed 100 people in 2003 will plead no contest to charges of involuntary manslaughter. One of them will not serve any prison time. Under the plea agreement, announced Wednesday in a letter to victims' families by Rhode Island's attorney general, one of the men, Michael Derderian, will be sentenced to serve four years in a minimum security prison. His brother, Jeffrey Derderian, will be sentenced to three years of probation and 500 hours of community service...

In his letter Wednesday, the attorney general, Patrick C. Lynch, wrote, "Despite their desire to admit to the charges against them, I was unwilling to recommend or agree to the sentences that I have been advised the court will impose." He added, "Most significantly, I strongly disagree with the court's intention to sentence Jeffrey Derderian to less than jail."

Jeffrey Derderian was in the club, called the Station in West Warwick, the night of the fire, but the authorities have said Michael Derderian played a greater role in buying and installing highly flammable sound-insulating foam around the stage that was almost instantly ignited by the pyrotechnics.

The plea deal angered many relatives of the victims, as well as some of the 200 people who were injured in the blaze.  Several said they would attend the Sept. 29 sentencing before Associate Justice Francis J. Darigan Jr. of Superior Court, who will hear from some of the victims and relatives.

September 21, 2006 at 07:30 AM | Permalink

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