All defendants in 2015 East Village explosion sentenced to 4 to 12 years

WABC logo
Friday, January 17, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

Tim Fleischer has the latest details on the defendants involved in the 2015 East Village Explosion.

EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Three people convicted of manslaughter in the March 2015 explosion in the East Village were sentenced Friday to 4 to 12 years.

The explosion killed two people and injured more than 20.

The building owner, 59-year-old Maria Hrynenko, of Rockland; an unlicensed plumber, 63-year-old Athanasios Ioannidis, of Queens; and the general contractor, 44-year-old Dilber Kukic, of the Bronx were convicted last November of rigging an illegal gas line at the building on Second Avenue at 7th Street.

Relatives of the deceased victims, Nicholas Figueroa and Moises Locon, did not feel they received justice.

"It hurts so much that no matter what, it's never going to bring him back," mother Ana Lanza Figueroa said. "We just wanted justice and wanted them to feel our pain."

Ana Lanza Figueroa relived the memory of her son as she read a tearful victim impact statement.

"I wanted the world for him," she told the judge. "A dream I will never get the chance to realize."

Figueroa's body was found in the debris an agonizing three days after the explosion.

"This ain't justice," father Nixon Figueroa said. "This is a slap in the face, especially my son who is dead and Moises, the other boy. We should get more than this."

Frank Locon, the other victim's brother, expressed his sorrow in court as well.

"I miss my brother so much," Frank Locon told the judge. "I cry for him. I will always hold him in my heart forever."

Attorneys for all three defendants spoke on their behalf. Dilber Kukic was the only one who spoke in court.

"I feel very bad for the families," Kukic said. "If I could give my life, I would in a second."

Defense attorney Marc Agnifilo said Kukic wanted to speak to the family directly.

"That was very important to him," Agnifilo said. "I think it's an utterly heartfelt sentiment on his part."

A large number of the defendant's family members left the court, many of them crying and not speaking, but the Figueroa's pain is still deeply felt.

"Our family is broken," Ana Lanza Figueroa said. "Our family is never going to be the same."

Nixon Figueroa said his son was a beautiful, happy guy.

"I'm proud of having him as a son," he said.

Investigators said the explosion was caused by an illegally tapped gas line.

"Developers and property owners across the City should keep today's sentencing in mind as New York's building boom continues into 2020," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said. "If you cut corners based on expediency and profit and kill or injure New Yorkers in the process, you are engaging in criminal conduct and my Office will seek significant prison time."

Vance said the case is a deadly reminder to building owners to resist shortcuts at a time when development in this and many other cities is at a breakneck pace.


* More Manhattan news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube