A Millionaire Was Sentenced To 9 Years In Prison After A Man Died Trying To Build Secret Tunnels Und


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A millionaire stock trader was sentenced to nine years in prison Monday in the death of a worker he'd hired to dig tunnels beneath his house in suburban Washington, DC, as protection from potential North Korean missile strikes.
Daniel Beckwitt, 28, had been found guilty in April of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Askia Khafra, 21, who was found "naked" and "charred" in the burnt-out basement of the Bethesda, Maryland, residence.

Dia Khafra, father of Askia Khafra, holds a photo of his son in his Silver Spring, Maryland, home.

During the two-week trial, prosecutors described how Beckwitt hired Khafra to build the complex of bunker-like tunnels in case of an attack by North Korea, said Ramón V. Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office.

Beckwitt would pick up Khafra from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, outside of Washington, and require Khafra to wear darkened, blackout glasses that prevented Khafra from seeing where he was being driven to, according to a statement of charges from the Montgomery County District Court.
The document also says that once Beckwitt picked up Khafra, he told him they'd be going to an "undisclosed location in Virginia," but Beckwitt would instead drive to his house in Bethesda.
Beckwitt would lead Khafra to his basement, where Khafra would work on digging the tunnels for days at a time, the document read.
The tunnels branched out some 200 feet and two-stories beneath the basement of the house, the document read.

Police tape surrounds the house where Askia Khafra died in a fire while digging tunnels.

Then, in September 2017, a fire broke out at Beckwitt's home and Khafra died, authorities said.

Beckwitt later admitted to being "specifically aware of the increased likelihood of a fire breaking out within hours before the call for a house fire," the court document says.

A detective described "hoarder" conditions at Beckwitt's house.
"Immense piles of garbage and discarded items (were) strewn throughout the entire home" and "narrow maze-like pathways... significantly prevented normal ease of movement within the home," the document read. It said the clutter prevented "normal ease" of exiting the home.

Police said they found a "haphazard daisy-chain of extension cords and plug extenders" leading into the tunnel complex "that created a substantial risk of fire," according to court documents.
Robert Bonsib, an attorney for Beckwitt, called the sentence "fair."

"We continue to maintain that the guilty verdicts are not supported by the evidence in this matter as this was a purely accidental fire -- not a criminal act," Bonsib said in an email to CNN. "Mr. Beckwitt has appealed and is hopeful that the appellate court will grant him a new trial in this matter."

Ms. Tarabotti

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So many questions....

How does one 'apply' for this kind of job? Did he advertise for a construction job or just randomly pick him out?

Was Mr Khafra hurting for money that he felt he couldn't say no to these weird requirements?

How do you dig illegal tunnels (because you know that there were no permits filed) and no neighbors know about it? Where did the dirt go?


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This man has to be mentally ill. He's a 28 year old hoarder having a stranger digging tunnels under his home to protect him from missile strikes. Something is wrong upstairs.

I don't understand how the young man that died found this job, why he would drive with this man in a car with black out glasses not knowing where he was going or why he was naked. This story is very odd.

Black Ambrosia

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How do you start this? You just go in the basement and start digging? How do you go that deep without striking a gas line or pipes? Did he put in stairs? How do you go back and forth once you've removed so much dirt? Was he climbing up a ladder? How tall was that ladder?

Stock trader doesn't fit the image in my head of a hoarder. And that house doesn't look like a millionaire's home unless he was a 'less is more' type ala Warren Buffet.

The crazy hoarder must've had him naked to make sure he didn't steal anything. He had an unhealthy attachment to his stuff and was convinced it was worth something and at risk.


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I think the picture of the house in the OP is of the back of the house all.boarded up after the fire. I watched a video and it looked like a decent house. Still modest for a millionaire I guess but it looks about right for the area.

This dude looks like he was well on his way to being one of those eccentric rich people (i.e. mentally ill person with money to waste - since rich people get tagged as eccentric instead of what they are). I see people like this where I live all the time. These people be walking around looking raggedy mumbling to themselves, wearing the same thing everyday and come to find out they or their family own the whole block of buildings they living in in the East Village.

Also, the young man that died had pictures of himself in the tunnels posted on Facebook. They only showed one in the news clip I watched so I'm not sure if there were more. But he was fully dressed, had on a hard hat, safety glasses and a mask. But it also said he had to use the bathroom in buckets while he was down there. I wonder how much he was paying him. Anyone think it was a crazy load of money? Why else would he do this?


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He couldn’t have brought a bomb shelter just like everyone else in the twilight zone. Smh. And 9 years is not that long. I figured he must have broken some city laws digging tunnels underneath his house, plus he killed someone, to me that’s at least 15-20 years. He sounds mentally unstable, you mean to tell me in 9 years (probably even less becuase of good behavior) this dude is going to be back in the streets of society. Oh lord. I hope I’m not living next to him.