Ghost Ship Managers Plead to Manslaughter Charges

Two men involved in operating the Ghost Ship venue in Oakland have pled no-contest to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. The fire in the converted warehouse on December 2, 2016 killed 36 people.

Derick Almena, 48 and Max Harris, 28, appeared in Alameda County Superior Court yesterday and were given prison sentences by Judge Morris Jacobson. Almena, who rented the venue, agreed to a nine-year sentence followed by three years of mandatory supervised release while Harris, who helped manage the venue, agreed to a six-year sentence with four years of mandatory supervision.

The plea agreement avoids the need for what likely would have been a protracted jury trial.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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