January 3, 2014
By Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times
The manslaughter case against German architect Gerhard Becker was novel from the start.
Los Angeles prosecutors charged that Becker built a Hollywood Hills West mansion with such disregard for public safety and building codes that he should be held criminally liable for the death of a Los Angeles firefighter who was crushed by 1,000 pounds of ceiling while battling a blaze there in 2011.
Becker, 49, was set to go on trial for involuntary manslaughter and faced up to four years in jail. But on Friday, the case came to an abrupt end with a judge agreeing to a deal that will keep the architect in jail for six months in exchange for a no contest plea.
Prosecutors, the victim’s family and firefighters opposed the resolution, saying Becker deserved more punishment. About 15 uniformed firefighters attended the court hearing Friday to lend their support. More than 400 firefighters submitted letters to the court. More…