BY MATT SLEDGE | The Advocate | Apr 12, 2019 – 4:15 pm
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 Marshalʼs office in March 2012. He claimed that he
visited the Rusty Pelican motel on Louisiana 1 in early April.
However, prosecutors said Marchiafava never visited the structure before a
Sept. 26, 2012 fire, in which Belle Brandl, 60, and Timothy Foret, 46, died.
Prosecutors said that after the fire, Marchiafava tried to destroy documents
proving he was in New Orleans at the time he had claimed he was
inspecting the building. He also falsified documents showing another visit to
the property in May, 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
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. Marchiafavaʼs defense attorney did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.