Two people were killed in a fiery gas explosion in March 2015, including Nicholas Figueroa's son.

"He did everything good," Nicholas Figueroa, Sr. said. "I wish he was here, I love him to death."

Nicholas Figueroa, Jr., 23, was on a date in the sushi restaurant on the ground floor of 121 Second Avenue when, prosecutors said, natural gas from an illegal connection in the basement exploded.

(Nicholas Figueroa, Jr., one of two people who were killed in the March 2015 East Village gas explosion.)

"He was a great kid, beautiful boy. He did everything perfect from the day he was born to the day he died," his father said.

Figueroa was the first prosecution witness in the trial of three people on trial for the explosion.

Assistant District Attorney Randolph Clarke charged that greed and desperation drove landlord Maria Hrynenko to have gas illegally brought in from the basement of her building next door to the apartments above the restaurant so she could keep collecting rents during renovations.

"Unbeknownst to the people who were walking down the street, driving down the street, there was a virtual bomb lurking underneath in the East Village," Clarke said.

Hrynenko, Dilber Kukic, the contractor she hired, and Jerry Ioannidis, the unlicensed plumber accused of actually installing the improper gas connection, are charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

The landlord's attorney argued the landlord hired licensed professionals for the renovation and trusted them to do the right thing. And attorneys for the contractor and the plumber said the gas leak came from the kitchen of the sushi restaurant, not the gas line in the basement.

The prosecution said the defendants hid the illegal connection from Con Edison inspectors that day and turned it back on after the inspectors left.

Another plumber pleaded guilty in March to approving false paperwork for the gas rig to be built.s

23 minutes later, the building housing the sushi restaurant, and the two adjacent buildings, was leveled, killing a bus boy in the restaurant, Moises Locon, in addition to Figueroa. 19 others were hurt.


(Moises Locon, one of two people who were killed in the March 2015 East Village gas explosion.)

"They did the crime, they should pay the price...for whatever time they'll give them," Figueroa, Sr. said.

With three defendants, each with their own lawyers and mounting their own defenses, the judge said he expects this case to last six to eight weeks.