E2 Nightclub Owners Get Two Years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Life.com
    The Epitome night club where 21 people died.

    The owners of the E2 nightclub where 21 people were killed in a stampede six years ago are headed to jail.

    Cook County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Gillespie sentenced Dwain Kyles and Calvin Hollins Tuesday to two years each.

    The men were convicted in September of indirect criminal contempt for disobeying a court order to close the second floor of their E2 night club. They claimed they didn't understand the order.

    But city prosecutors say Kyles and Hollins were motivated by pure greed in packing the nightclub with too many people.

    "Those 21 people would still be alive today if those four court orders had been obeyed.  That all you had to do; Just close the place," said city attorney Walter Jones.

    Many victims were trapped and crushed after patrons rushed into the stairwell early Feb. 17, 2003 after someone used pepper spray to break up a fight inside the club.

    The  former owners insist they did nothing wrong.

    "My heart grieves for every one of those individuals.  I grew up with a lot of those individuals who perished that day; I would say nine of those individuals.  Four of my children have worked at that facility.  I never would have put my children in harm's way at all," Hollins said.

    Rep. Bobby Rush said he believes the city shoulders much of the blame for the deaths.

    "Rather than calling for rescue personnel, the city called for riot personnel.  Something's wrong with that," he said.

    Two years ago Kyles and Hollins were acquitted of involuntary manslaughter charges related to the case.