NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams announced on Thursday, Oct. 5 that a grand jury returned with no indictments on any criminal charges related to the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel on Canal Street nearly four years ago.
The hotel, which was under construction, collapsed on Oct. 12, 2019, killing three construction workers, Anthony Magrette, Jose Arreola and Quinyon Wimberly as the upper floors “pancaked” onto lower floors.
The statute of limitations for filing criminal charges expires on the collapse anniversary.
According to a statement from Williams, the DA’s office began investigating the possibility of criminal charges in 2021.
But Williams blames the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration for refusing to help his office build a criminal case.
“While OSHA’s specialists assessed the situation from an administrative enforcement angle, they didn’t cooperate to further our efforts in presenting this case to the grand jury. They hindered our progress by withholding a crucial report for our review. It appears OSHA prioritized civil negotiations over criminal investigations in this context. Their refusal to disclose all evidence and reports at their disposal severely hampered our presentation,” said Williams.
Williams called the absence of criminal charges “disheartening” and “frustrating.”
Magrette’s twin sister, Angela Magrette, gave a statement to WGNO reporter Kenny Lopez.
“I don’t get it, and I’m shocked. I am not going to stop fighting. I’ve got to figure it out. Something more should have been done. How could they not prosecute anyone? There’s so much evidence.”
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