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May 10, 2006
StationBlog: Prosecutor wants 10 years for Biechele / Photo
Journal photo / Mary Murphy
Assistant Attorney General Randall White holds up a photograph taken just after the fire started in The Station nightclub fire, as he made his statements today.
PROVIDENCE -- As expected, prosecutor Randall White asked Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr. today to sentence Daniel M. Biechele to serve 10 years in prison, citing the massive loss of life in The Station fire and the need to send a message.
White wrapped up his argument at about 2:30 p.m., after talking for an hour. He also asked that Biechele spend five years on probation after completing the full prison term allowed in a plea agreement.
"The devastation wrought by the defendant is unparalleled in our state's history," said White, who addressed the judge in the final phase of Biechele's sentencing hearing today.
In support of his argument, White pointed to Biechele's experience managing a band called W.A.S.P. before he went to work for Great White, whose pyrotechnics started the disastrous fire.
That band also used pyrotechnics for its shows, and White pointed to documents taken from Biechele's computer during which he discussed the need for permits and other approvals in using pyrotechnics for W.A.S.P. shows in various states.
"Dan Biechele's failure to get a permit in Rhode Island was not an unwitting, innocuous oversight, but a deliberate, intentional decision not to abide by Rhode Island law," White said.
He argued that Biechele lacked common sense in setting off the pyrotechnics in the crowded club. He used a type of gerb that sent fireworks 15 feet into the air for 15 seconds, White said.
"A child could have seen and foreseen the harm," White said.
White also said the sentence should send a message because safety procedures are often overlooked. "Societal deterrence is a sound objective," he argued.
-- With reports from projo.com staff writer Steve Peoples
Come back to projo.com this afternoon for live coverage of the sentencing hearing in news reports, video and photos.
Darigan has taken the bench
Posted 1:28 p.m.
PROVIDENCE -- Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr. has taken the bench, and the main courtroom in Superior Court has filled in anticipation of the final phase of the sentencing hearing for the band manager who started The Station nightclub fire.
The hearing was starting just before its scheduled time of 1:30 p.m. Before the sentence is imposed on Daniel M. Biechele, former tour manager for the band Great White, the prosection and defense will each have 45 minutes to argue their cases to Darigan.
Biechele, 29, of Florida, will then be allowed to make a statement, if he so chooses, before Darigan pronounces the sentence.
Biechele pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in February and faces up to 10 years in prison under a plea agreement.
-- With reports from projo.com staff writer Steve Peoples and Journal staff writer Tracy Breton
Biechele to learn fate today
Posted 11:59 a.m.
PROVIDENCE -- The man who started the 2003 Station nightclub fire will learn today how much time, if any, he will spend in prison for the incident that killed 100 people, injuring 200 others.
After two days of emotional testimony from victims' families, Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr. will decide on the length of Daniel M. Biechele's sentence during a Superior Court hearing that begins at 1:30 p.m.
Biechele is expected to address the court before Darigan makes his ruling. According to the terms of the plea bargain, Biechele could receive up to 10 years in prison, or as little as community service.
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