Dan Biechele, who recently pleaded guilty to 100 counts of manslaughter in a plea agreement, is expected to act as a state’s witness in the separate trials of nightclub owners Jeff and Michael Derderian. Biechele launched pyrotechnics at the club while Great White was on stage, igniting a blaze that killed 100 people and injured 200 more February 20, 2003.
The Derderians are expected to face manslaughter charges this spring.
The tour manager is expected to testify consistent with statements he gave prosecutors in the hours following the fire, his phone records, documents from his laptop and suitcase, and a voice-mail recording from Michael Derderian six days before the fire, according to The Providence Journal.
At Biechele’s plea hearing, he agreed with the prosecution that Michael Derderian gave him permission to launch pyro, the paper said.
Prosecutors plan to call the owner of the company that sold flammable foam to the club. A civil suit alleges he did so intentionally by discouraging or prohibiting his sales staff to disclose that the foam was flammable.
The civil suit was re-filed February 15th, adding 25 new victims and 39 new defendants, the Journal said. The three-year fire anniversary also marks the statute of limitations for filing civil suits.
The civil suit – the largest of nine – adds three members of Great White and Busch Entertainment Corp. as defendants. The beer company flew banners at the show and prosecutors claim it helped draft national standards for pyro usage but failed to communicate the dangers to those involved in the West Warwick tragedy, the Journal said.