GREAT WHITE: Three-Day Sentencing Hearing Set In Nightclub Fire Case

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

In the three years since The Station nightclub disaster, the relatives of the 100 people killed have clustered together for memorials at the roadside fire site and mourned alone in cemeteries.

But they have never had a chance to share their pain in open court in front of the man whose pyrotechnics sparked the blaze.

That opportunity will come this week as Daniel Biechele is sentenced in an unusual three-day hearing, starting Monday, that is expected to showcase emotionally wrenching testimonials from the victims' families. The dead included eight people who lived and worked in Connecticut.

Biechele, 29, was tour manager for the rock band GREAT WHITE when he set off a flashy display during a Feb. 20, 2003 concert, igniting a fire that swiftly enveloped a crowded nightclub and devastated the tiny state.

Biechele will be sentenced under a plea deal Wednesday to serve up to 10 years in prison, and prosecutors are recommending the maximum possible term. His lawyers are asking for community service instead of jail time.

Biechele was to have been the first of three men charged in the fire to stand trial. Instead, he became the first to accept responsibility by pleading guilty in February to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, who owned the West Warwick club, each face 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter and are accused of installing the flammable soundproofing foam that fueled the flames.

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