GREAT WHITE Nightclub Fire: Families Outraged By Club Owner Pleas

The Associated Press reports:

Relatives of the 100 people killed in a 2003 nightclub fire sparked by rock band GREAT WHITE's pyrotechnics are furious that the club owners are pleading no contest to involuntary manslaughter charges and that one of them will avoid prison. For family members still upset that only three men were charged in the fire, the pleas from brothers Jeffrey and Michael Derderian mark the latest stinging disappointment in the criminal case stemming from the deadly blaze.

"From the beginning it's been a farce," said John Richmond, whose daughter, Kelly Vieira, 40, died in the fire.

Michael Derderian, 45, will be sentenced to serve four years in prison, said his attorney, Kathleen Hagerty. Jeffrey Derderian, who is in his 40s, will be spared prison and receive a suspended 10-year sentence with three years probation and 500 hours of community service.

They are scheduled to change their not guilty pleas on Sept. 29, according to a letter from state Attorney General Patrick Lynch.

The brothers' plea arrangement shuts down jury selection in Michael Derderian's trial, which began earlier this month. Jeffrey Derderian's was to be tried separately.

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