Posted at: 06/14/2012 12:21 PM
| Updated at: 06/14/2012 6:15 PM
By: WNYT Staff
SALEM - Steven McComsey was injured in the blast that rocked the Salem home where he lived with six other people. And tonight, McComsey is accused of causing the explosion that killed six people, including an infant.
He's charged with six counts of manslaughter and two counts of reckless endangerment.
The 33-year old handyman is accused of tampering with the propane tanks in the basement of the Route 29 home before it exploded.
One of the counts accuses McComsey of refusing to let other people in the home call 9-1-1 when they smelled propane gas.
Prosecutors aren't saying McComsey meant to harm anyone, but they say he may have been trying to drain propane from the tanks to get even with a landlord who'd evicted him. McComsey was supposed to be out of the house the following day.
McComsey didn't say a word as he was led in and out of court. Inside the courtroom, he pled not guilty and told the judge that he wants a public defender.
Clarissa Porlier was just 19-years-old when she was killed in the blast. Her indelible image forever etched on the shoulder of her grieving mother. Linda Porlier came to McComsey's arraignment and said she's happy to see that someone's being held accountable but worries that there will never be justice for her daughter and the others.
"She was a great kid. The whole world is a worse place just because she's not here. She was going to make a difference in a lot of lives," said Porlier.