D.A. Vance: All Defendants Convicted of Manslaughter For East Village Building Explosion


November 15, 2019

Defendants Constructed Illegal Gas Delivery System, Causing Deadly Inferno

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the trial conviction of MARIA HRYNENKO, 59, ATHANASIOS “JERRY” IOANNIDIS, 63, and DILBER KUKIC, 44, for their roles in causing a fatal gas explosion at 121 Second Avenue on March 26, 2015, which resulted in the deaths of 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa and 26-year-old Moises Locon, and seriously injured 13 other victims. A New York State Supreme Court jury found the defendants guilty of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second and Third Degrees, among other charges. The defendants are expected to be sentenced on January 10, 2020.

“This is a big win for public safety in New York,” said District Attorney Vance. “As construction and development continues to boom, today’s guilty verdict puts property owners, contractors, and managers on notice: my Office will pursue criminal charges against those who place expediency and financial gain over life and limb. I thank the jury and the tireless prosecutors in our storied Rackets Bureau for holding these defendants accountable for the tragic and preventable losses of Moises Locon and Nicholas Figueroa. I also want to thank the Figueroa and Locon families, who demonstrated remarkable strength and resilience through the duration of this trial. While today’s result will not bring these young New Yorkers back, I hope the Figueroa and Locon families take a measure of comfort in knowing that this case will change the way that landlords and contractors do business in New York.”

DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said, “These convictions deliver a definitive message that safety comes first and those individuals who intentionally compromise it, endangering the lives of New Yorkers, will face arrest and criminal prosecution. In this case, a Manhattan Supreme Court jury clearly saw the criminal misconduct of these defendants that led to the tragic death of two people and injury of 13 others.  DOI thanks the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, our law enforcement partners, and the City Department of Buildings for their collaboration and dedication on this important investigation.”

Assistant District Attorneys Rachana Pathak, Senior Investigative Counsel of the Rackets Bureau, and Randolph Clarke, Jr. handled the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gary Galperin, Senior Investigative Counsel of the Rackets Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Judy Salwen, Principal Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Michael Ohm, Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Jodie Kane, Chief of the Rackets Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Senior Rackets Investigation Detective Michael O’Brien, Principal Financial Investigator Evelyn Serrano, Trial Preparation Assistants Annie Bell and Jacob Russell, Legal Fellow Tyler Keefe, Former Trial Preparation Assistant Alexandra Oviedo, Former Investigative Analyst Michael Segnan, Media Services Technician Ronald Gonzalez, Photography Unit Supervisor Laura Badger and Photographer Rosa McDowell, Digital Forensic Video Analysts James Oliva and Victor Zambrano, and Supervising Data Engineer Nathan Weber provided additional assistance with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD, FDNY, DOI, and DOB for their assistance with the investigation.

Defendant Information:

MARIA HRYNENKO, D.O.B. 11/26/1959
Rockland, NY
Convicted:

  • Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
  • Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 9 counts
  • Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 4 counts
  • Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

ATHANASIOS “JERRY” IOANNIDIS, D.O.B. 6/15/1956
Queens, NY
Convicted:

  • Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
  • Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 9 count
  • Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 4 counts
  • Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 2 counts

DILBER KUKIC, D.O.B. 6/9/1975
Bronx, NY
Convicted:

  • Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
  • Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 9 count
  • Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 4 counts
  • Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count