William Rapetti, the crane rigger responsible for a crane at a Midtown condo site that collapsed and killed seven people in March 2008, was acquitted of all charges, including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment and second-degree assault. Rapetti had declined a jury trial, so Justice Roger S. Hayes made the verdict (he did not explain it).
Of the verdict, Rapetti's wife said, "Just let us grieve. We haven't had time to grieve," and his lawyer said, "I can't say we're happy. We're relieved," and added that Rapetti would visit the cemetery where his co-workers—six who were killed (the seventh victim was a tourist, visiting a friend in a townhouse that was flattened by part of the crane)—are buried.
Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. issued a brief statement: "While we respect the criminal justice process, we are extremely disappointed by the court's verdict. At this time our thoughts go out to the seven victims' families, whose lives were devastated by this tragic incident." And Department of Buildings commissioner Robert LiMandri said, "This tragic collapse serves as a reminder of the importance of taking every possible safety precaution on any construction site. It is clear that shortcuts, in order to save time and money, can have devastating consequences. New York City has among the toughest crane regulations in the world, and since the collapse, we have further increased our oversight of the crane industry, including new laws, new requirements and more inspector training than ever before."