Daniel Beckwitt was sentenced to 9 years in prison for the manslaughter of a young man during the building of a nuclear bunker under his house. Daniel Beckwitt, a 27-year-old American millionaire, hired the young man to build the bunker because he believed a nuclear attack was imminent.
He was afraid of “international threats, even from North Korea,” according to his lawyer. Therefore, he decided to build a bunker under his house in Bethesda, Maryland, a high-class neighborhood in Washington DC, United States.
He hired Askia Khafra, a 21-year-old man. But tragedy stroke. In September of 2017, there was a fire in the tunnel network below the house and the young worker died.
Beckwitt, who is engaged in the purchase and sale of shares on the stock market, was accused of involuntary manslaughter.
The sentence issued by the court of Bethesda, qualifies it as “second degree murder with a depraved heart” because it says that Beckwitt acted with careless indifference for human life.
The 60-meter tunnel system, hidden six meters below Beckwitt’s basement, was equipped with a “cable chain” of electric power, according to evidence presented by prosecutors.
The judicial documents cite dangerous conditions of accumulation inside the house and affirm that the defendant was “clearly aware of the likelihood of a fire.” However, he did nothing to prevent it.
The police also described that there were “large piles of garbage and discarded items scattered throughout the house” and “narrow paths in the form of a labyrinth”, which made movement within the house difficult.
When the fire broke out on September 10, Beckwitt was able to escape from the house and warned emergency personnel that there was another person inside. Later, Khafra was found dead by inhalation of smoke and burns.
Prosecutors in the case say Beckwitt did everything possible to prevent the victim, whom he met online, from knowing where he was really working, according to The Washington Post.
Beckwitt forced Khafra to wear dark glasses when he picked him up at his house in a rental car. In addition, he drove about an hour so that the worker did not know the location of the house.
Khafra worked for days in the basement, eating and even going to the bathroom in the same place, according to prosecutors. Hours before his death, the worker sent a text message to Beckwitt to tell him that he smelled smoke in the tunnel.
Beckwitt attempted to adjust the circuit breakers, which, according to Assistant State Attorney Douglas Wink, is evidence that he knew of the bunker’s “imminent fire hazard”.
His defense attorney, Robert Bonsib, argued that Khafra enjoyed the job and posted photos on social media about the progress of the tunnel. “This is a tragic accident involving the death of a young man who participated fully in these activities, and was aware of what was happening,” Bonsib said after the arrest of his client.
The prosecutors in the case say that the tunnel network was 60 meters long. When asked if the victim was there against his will, Bonsib replied: “Hell, no.” He also noted that Beckwitt made repeated calls to 911 and that he was admitted to the hospital for medical treatment.
During the trial, attorney Bonsib described his client as an “unusual individual”, according to The Washington Post.
Following the fire, Montgomery County officials filed a civil lawsuit alleging that the bunker network extended beyond Beckwitt’s property boundaries, reports Fox News. Beckwitt and his father, David, who owns the house, rejected this claim.