Fremont construction company owner and manager convicted in employee’s death

SAN JOSE (KRON) — A construction company owner and manager were both convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the 2012 cave-in death of one of their employees in 2012.

Richard Liu, 53, of Fremont, the company’s owner and CEO, and Dan Luo, 36, of Fremont, the project manager, were both convicted of involuntary manslaughter of Raul Zapata, 39, of Zacatecas, Mexico.

Zapata was in his second week of work on a project where a house was being built on a hillside by US.-Sino Investment Inc. of Fremont.

On January 25, 2012, after a recent downpour, a city building instructor issued a “Stop Work” notice to the project manager because of the danger of a cave-in of the unsupported dirt walls.

Despite that order, crews continued to work on the project. Three days later, Zapata was crushed to death when several thousand pounds of dirt and rock fell on him.

“By cutting corners on worker safety, the defendants gambled with the lives of other human beings,” prosecutor Bud Porter said. “Their reckless gamble caused the needless death of Mr. Zapata.”

The pair will be sentenced on January 17. They could face up to four years in prison.

Zapata is survived by his wife and three young children.

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