Outcome Of People v. Almena & Harris Jury Trial

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley has announced that a jury has found the defendant Max Harris not guilty in the involuntary manslaughter trial stemming from the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire. A mistrial has been declared as to defendant Derick Almena, with the jury announcing today it is unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

The jury trial spanned over more than four months and included testimony from more than 65 witnesses. The jury deliberated for a total of fourteen days.

On December 2, 2016 a deadly fire engulfed a warehouse in Oakland, CA known as the Ghost Ship, killing 36 people. “From the moment we learned of this heartbreaking tragedy, the District Attorney’s Office has worked tirelessly to bring the defendants to justice,” says DA Nancy O’Malley. “Each young man and women killed will be forever mourned and their senseless deaths will never be forgotten. Our hearts remain with their families and loved-ones. While I am disappointed in today’s outcome, I must respect the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of each juror in this matter, as well as the outcome of their deliberations.”

Since December of 2016, multiple victim/witness consultants have been dedicated to working with the families of those who lost their lives as well as with survivors of the blaze, keeping everyone apprised of the legal proceedings and accompanying family to court. The District Attorney’s Office will continue to provide needed support to the families of each victim.

“We acknowledge the emotional toll this long trial has had on the families of the men and women who perished in the Ghost Ship,” says Assistant District Attorney Casey Bates.

Because the judge has declared a mistrial in the matter of Derrick Almena, his case remains active and the People cannot comment further at this time. The District Attorney will meet with the trial team as well as the families of the victims in the days ahead to evaluate how the case will now proceed.

The matter of Derick Almena has been set for further proceedings on October 4, 2019 in Dept. 5 at 9:00 am.

Posted on Sep 5, 2019