A former state fire inspector who tried to hide the fact that he failed to visit a Grand Isle motel months before a fatal fire was convicted of attempting to injure public records on Thursday, New Orleans prosecutors said.
Orleans Parish Criminal District Judge Paul Bonin convicted Nunzio Marchiafava, 73, of the felony count after a bench trial. He was charged with a more serious count of malfeasance in office.
Marchiafava faces zero to 2½ years in prison at an April 25 hearing.
Authorities said Marchiafava was the New Orleans district supervisor for the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office in March 2012.
Although he visited the Rusty Pelican motel on Louisiana 1 in early April, investigators said that he never made a promised follow-up visit in May before a Sept. 26, 2012 fire, in which Belle Brandl, 60, and Timothy Foret, 46, died.
He also falsified documents showing a follow-up trip, prosecutors said.
The case originated from a complaint made to the non-profit Metropolitan Crime Commission, which was referred to the state Office of Inspector General.
Marchiafava was first charged in a bill of information in November 2013. His lawyers spent years trying to quash the bill, court records show.
Assistant District Attorneys Daniel Smart and Jay Meyers prosecuted the case. Marchiafava’s defense attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Editor's Note: This post was updated on Monday, April 15 to correct a reference to Marchiafava’s first visit to the property.