Three people convicted in the 2015 East Village explosion that killed two people learned their fate Friday inside a Manhattan courtroom.

Maria Hrynenko, Anthanasios "Jerry" Ioannidis, and Dilber Kukic were all sentenced to serve four to 12 years in prison after they were convicted of manslaughter in November.

The parents of one of the victims said the punishment was not enough.

"This ain't justice. This is a slap in our face," said Nixon Figueroa, father of Nicholas Figueroa.


A jury had found them guilty of rigging an illegal gas delivery system, which killed two people when it exploded in March 2015. The explosion also destroyed several stores in the neighborhood. Thirteen others were hurt.

The trial began in September. Assistant District Attorney Randolph Clarke had charged that greed and desperation drove Hrynenko, the landlord, to have gas illegally brought in from the basement of her building next door to 121 Second Avenue, where the gas had been shut off, so she could keep collecting rent during renovations. Kukic was the contractor she hired, and Ioannidis was the allegedly unlicensed plumber who was accused of actually installing the improper gas connection.

Moises Locon, a busboy in the restaurant where the explosion occurred, and Nicholas Figueroa Jr., a 23-year-old on a date in the restaurant, were killed in the explosion.

Moises Locon, one of the two people killed in the East Village explosion.


Nicholas Figueroa Jr., one of the two people killed in the East Village explosion.


Before the sentencing, relatives of two of the victims addressed the court. The brother of Locon, who worked in the restaurant on the ground floor of 121 Second Avenue, spoke tearfully through a translator, saying, "I will never see my brother again."

And Ana Lanza Figueroa, the mother of Nicholas Figueroa, struggled to get out her words, saying, "I miss him so much."

"We just wanted justice. I wanted them to feel our pain because as long as they do their time, they're going to come home and they're going to be with their families," she said. "But our family is broken. Our family is never going to be the same."

Only one defendant, Kukic, addressed the court, telling the victims' families that if he could give his life for the two dead men, he would.

The defendants' lawyers said "nobody saw it coming" and that the explosion was the last thing they wanted.

"I was hoping for a lower sentence. I was hoping for, if not a probationary sentence, shorter jail terms," defense lawyer Marc Agnifilo said.

The three defendants were put in custody right after their sentences were read. For the families of the victims, none of this brings them closure.