View Full Version : Band manager gets 4 years in prison for nightclub fire

10-05-2006, 21:39:51

Judge suspended 11 years of a 15 year sentence

Wednesday, May 10, 2006; Posted: 5:17 p.m. EDT (21:17 GMT)

Daniel Biechele tearfully appologizes on Wednesday for his role in the nightclub fire.

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Band manager sentenced to prison (:55)

Great White
Daniel Biechele
Nightclub Fire
or Create Your Own
Manage Alerts | What Is This? PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- A former rock-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.

Many of the 100 people who were killed that night either were quickly overcome by fumes emitted by the foam or became trapped in a crush at the front door.

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."

Biechele's lawyers had asked the judge to show mercy and sentence Biechele to community service. They said he is the only person to accept responsibility and is truly remorseful, having written letters of apology to the families of the victims that will be given to them later.

"I ask you to consider this: Dan Biechele is the only man in this tragedy to stand up and say I did something wrong," said his attorney, Thomas Briody. "He's the only man to say 'I apologize."'

Prosecutors had asked for the maximum sentence allowed under the deal they struck with Biechele in February, when he pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter for igniting pyrotechnics without a permit -- 10 years to serve in prison.

"The devastation wrought by the conduct of the defendant is unparalleled in our state's history," prosecutor Randall White said.

The fire was the fourth-deadliest nightclub blaze in U.S. history.

The sentencing follows two days of wrenching testimony from the families of about half the people killed. Some parents told the court that they have contemplated suicide. Other relatives said they could no longer work and have become so ill they can barely get out of bed in the morning.

The owners of The Station nightclub, brothers Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, are accused of installing the flammable foam that fed the flames and have pleaded not guilty to 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter -- two counts for each person killed under separate legal theories.

Michael Derderian is tentatively scheduled to go to trial on July 31; no trial date has been set for his brother.

Biechele has said he Michael Derderian gave him permission to use the pyrotechnics at The Station; the Derderians have said he did not have permission.

Biechele and the Derderians are also among dozens of defendants named in a massive lawsuit filed in federal court by fire survivors and victims' relatives.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

10-05-2006, 21:48:49
I guess that's about right.

It's a tough call. The guy was a dumbass for sure. But he didn't intentionally do it. He had no idea how flammable the club was, it wasn't his club. It's just he lacked common sense...

10-05-2006, 21:51:11
it's sad that one girl just recently died. She hung on for what 2 years?

10-05-2006, 22:14:58
Wait....I can save on all my calls with Vonage?

10-05-2006, 22:30:50
100 people, 4 years. That's a pretty cheap trade, isn't it?

365 * 3 + 366 = 1461

That's 14.61 days per person that died.

Somehow, I think that my friend Kevin's life was worth a lot more then that. He was one of those who died in that fire.

Strange how the courts try to figure things out.

You guys would have liked him. He was definitely a first rate "gay twat". He was absolutely crazy about music. I always expected him to just turn up missing one day, having chunked it all and gone to be a roady for a touring band. Or finally finding the right combination of other musicians, and moving across the country to go play somewhere that had a real scene.

I'm not sure what happened today. What I know is it wasn't justice. It's not going to make any of the families feel better. Nor their friends. I'm not looking for this guy to be drawn and quartered or anything. But the raw numbers just struck me as--- wrong.

Hell. My math is probably screwed up. But 4 years for killing 100 people and injuring scores more for using fireworks in an over crowded, sub-code nightclub? Spent in *jail*? What good is he going to do in there? Community service, helping out some of the families, sure. Maybe spent in some other sort of programs to help out the areas those people came for, sure. But jail?

I hear the guy (Daniel Biechele) is really raking himself over the coals about it. Many people would. But I don't see how sticking him in a jail cell will help him either. Who is gaining from this guy sitting in jail? I must be missing a step on this.

14.61 days behind bars for each person. Well, Kevin would want him spending those days making music, or if he has no music talent, then spent helping someone who is talented making music. I think that would be a far better use of that man's time. Or helping out Kevin's family. Kevin was a soft heart, and he'd rather have the guy trying to make amends then rotting in jail for a few years. Hard to make amends from behind bars...

10-05-2006, 23:34:18
Bah! If you can't take a little mayhem, don't go to a Heavy Metal gig.

11-05-2006, 11:06:05
Originally posted by Venom
Wait....I can save on all my calls with Vonage? :lol:
:o I shouldn't be laughing, but that was just funny.

11-05-2006, 11:28:26
Manage Alerts | What Is This? PROVIDENCE


11-05-2006, 12:15:15
Vonage is like: Venom + Ownage

Vonage is thus one of the most essential and awesome words ever.

11-05-2006, 12:18:31
And I can save on all of it too? Awesome! Total VONAGE!

11-05-2006, 12:20:00
VONAGE to the people!!!!!

Lurker the Second
11-05-2006, 14:29:38
Oh for Chrissake, you people didn't really expect DS to edit his post, did you?

11-05-2006, 15:58:10
:lol:! I wondered where that came from. Sorry folks, I didn't even look at that first post. :lol: I only copied the thing because I now so many people here don't follow links and bitch about not having the article.

I think I'll leave it. It's funny.

11-05-2006, 16:33:20
4 years for being an idiot, Venom could get life..

11-05-2006, 16:42:33
Well, he lost a friend in the fire. So he's been torn up over the whole thing from the start. His remorse is genuine.

Initial reports had it that he asked the night manager if the band could use their pyros, the night manager asked the owners, the owners said yes, and that came back.

A few weeks later, once the law got done bringing the owners up on charges, the owners had changed their story and said they were never asked, they said no pyros, there was a danger of burning down the place, pyro is dangerous and might put someone's eye's out, yadda yadda blah.

Now, those guys, I want to rot for a very long time in jail. They purposely chose to use a cheap sound insulator that was highly flammable where they knew people would be smoking and lighting up all manners of flammable. If they couldn't afford the sound insulation, they should have found a way to afford something not so flammable or sold the place.

11-05-2006, 17:51:28
The manager was a darwin candidate, but I agree, the club owners are vthe real criminals here.

11-05-2006, 20:16:40
yep, the club owners. Ultimately they are responsible for the safety of their club.

11-05-2006, 20:17:02
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. :)

11-05-2006, 20:47:02
Yes, but Vonage says its ok.

12-05-2006, 16:32:17
It's so difficult on the IP when you are helping out the work avoidant. ;)