2 tenants at 'Black Sunday' trial found not guiltyPosted: Updated:
Jurors at the "Black Sunday" trial have acquitted two Bronx tenants of all charges related to the deaths of firefighters Curtis Meyran and John Bellew, of Pearl River, during a 2005 blaze.
Caridad Coste and Rafael Castillo were tried on second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and second-degree reckless endangerment charges for allegedly erecting illegal partitions inside their apartments to collect more rent. Prosecutors claimed the partitions blocked the fire escape and forced the firefighters to jump four stories to their deaths.
The firefighters' widows, who were present in the courtroom, bowed their heads and wept as the verdicts were delivered.
FDNY officials slammed the verdict as outrageous and disappointing.
?This sends the wrong message to people that you can profit illegally with disregard for the life of firefighters and other citizens around you,? said James Flevin, of the Uniformed Firefighters? Association.
A second jury continues to deliberate similar charges against the building's manager, Cesar Rios, and its corporate owner.
Pearl River residents react to "Black Sunday" verdict
Surviving firefighter testifies in 'Black Sunday' trial Jurors hear radio transmissions in 'Black Sunday' trialTestimony continues in 'Black Sunday' trial Defendants in 'Black Sunday' case go on trial Tenant: 'Black Sunday' repeat possible at building