NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Three people charged in the deadly 2015 East Village gas explosion that left two people dead and more than a dozen injured have been found guilty by a jury.

Moises Locon, who worked as a busboy at the restaurant Sushi Park, and customer Nicholas Figueroa were killed on March 26, 2015, reports CBS’s Jessica Moore.

The building’s owner Maria Hrynenko, general contractor Dilber Kukic and unlicensed plumber Athanasios Ioannidis were all charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

They were accused of running an illegal gas line into the building at 121 Second Avenue.

All three have been found guilty of second-degree manslaughter, and second and third-degree assault, among other charges. The defendants are expected to be sentenced on January 10, 2020.

“No matter what it’s not going to bring him back,” said Anna Lanza, Nicholas Figueroa’s mom. “I’m extremely happy that we got the justice we wanted.

“Hopefully everybody who sees this, especially the landlords, will know they can’t get away with this and they won’t do it,” she said. “They’re guilty on every single charge. Every one of them.”

(credit: CBS2)

“What happened that day, a crime was committed,” Teresa Galarce-Garcia said. She was on a date with Figeueroa at Sushi Park when the blast occurred. “That could be my family, your family. That could be anyone’s family.”

Galarce-Garcia suffred a punctured lung, broken ribs and a broken nose, among other injuries.

“Some days I’ll go out and I’ll be sitting at a restaurant and I’m really cautious about a lot of things,” she said.

Families for the two victims have been a constant presence in court.

Lanza says justice doesn’t come without emotion for everyone involved.

“It’s hard to see,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to go to jail but if they did something wrong they have to pay for it and I really feel sorry for her daughters because they’re in there crying and I’m a mother but I lost my son.”

“It’s so hard because I thinking about my brother all the time. It’s too hard for me to stay here,” Locon’s brother said.

Closing arguments began in the case Tuesday. Defense attorneys showed pictures of a water heater from the basement seemingly intact to back their claim that the explosion happened in the kitchen of the sushi restaurant on the first floor, not the basement like prosecutors allege.

However, prosecutors argue the owner – who managed several buildings – had newly renovated apartments to lease but no gas service to them. Not wanting to miss out on rent, prosecutors say she leased them anyway, and the trio illegally tapped into one gas line to service tenants in another building.

The owner’s attorney said his client simply hired people to do work and knew nothing about an illegal gas line.

Hrynenko, Kukic and Ioannidis each face up to 15 years in prison..

Comments (2)
  1. Monica Isabella Molina says:

    This judge IS CORRUPT – Michael Obus only gave the greedy landlords who KILLED 2 kids in their 20s and injuring 13(!)) people just to save a few bucks 4-12 years????

    This is the SAME who also ruled people who knowingly cut corners ON CRANES and CAUSED TWO CRANE COLLAPSING ON HOMES AND PEOPLE and ignored rules and hired a Chinese company over the internet and caused two cranes collapse shouldn’t be charged with anything.Can we get rid of him? He is putting us all in danger.

    The landlord was in risk of losing tenants and $24,000 in annual rent if she could not provide gas, and used an illegal setup to divert gas from a restaurant on the ground-floor to the apartments instead of fixing it.

    She sold the building for $9.15 MILLION in 2017.

  2. Adrastos C says:

    the LL is completely responsible, because of her, these poor boys have lost thier lives.
    Who in thier right mind tampers with gas lines, especially in these old tenements. Funny how the landlords son Michal, has suddenly passed away at age 31. I seem to think the Mother had sent her son back to Ukraine for the rest of his life, it is too coincedental that amist this trial he died.
    They all deserved jail time, they are murderers, and lets not forget the people that are injured and now mentally injured as well. Also, what about all the families that have now lost their homes because of this. I think the three of them should had gotten life. maria, the LL was no proize either, she also had many problems throughout her reign as LL, she had vents put up for the restaurant below in the airshafts and had the tenants bedroom windows bricked up and that was another NYC Dept of Buildings saga, which resulted in her having to remove the vents and un-brick the windows.
    Alos, lets not forget the owner of the Sushi place, he also was a complete idiot, he smalled gas, and calls the LL to tell her this, she is turn calls the dead son michael, as if by divine right this asshole boy will know what to do. Instead Michael and the other plumber or what ever he was ran out of the building because the gas was turned on and they knew it, and didnt even warn the patrons, shame on him.

    This whole thing is tragic and everyone included in this needs to be accountable.

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